A new product from American Express Meetings & Events is designed to make it easier to make payments to healthcare providers using foreign currency. The system, which is built on the American Express FX International Payments platform, enables pharmaceutical companies to send, receive, manage, track, and report payments in more than 110 currencies in a secure online system, according to Issa Jouaneh, vice president and general manager, American Express Meetings & Events.

Specifically, it can be used to process multiple forms of payment, including wire transfers and checks, and allows a company to pay HCPs in local currencies. (It clearly displays exchange rates to provide transparency.) Once payments are processed, the system sends a confirmation. It also enables meeting professionals to categorize payments at the event-budget level and by the client hierarchy (e.g., division, brand, product-level, meeting-level, etc.). Users also can fully reconcile expense categories such as venues, meals, and audiovisual fees on the back end.

Jouaneh says the need for this solution arose when the company’s pharma clients noted that foreign currency payments weren’t a part of the process. “What we were looking to do was build a platform that makes it possible for meeting planners to manage payments to HCPs with tracking, reporting, and aggregation all integrated into the meeting and events solution.” The company currently has two global pharma companies using the solution, which is offered exclusively to American Express Meetings and Events clients.

According to Jouaneh, clients that have used the solution so far appreciate that it addresses their three key “pain” points:

1. The processing of individual payments to HCPs, which was “the primary need and priority because of the fragmented way the payments were being managed,” he says.
2. Tracking and aggregation of all payments, which is now integrated into every meeting.
3. Reporting, where payments can be managed, integrated, and reported back the way the client wants.

Coming next from AMEX will be a global meetings forecast for 2012, based on survey data.

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