Countries around the world are implementing regulations to curtail pharmaceutical marketing practices — and medical association meetings are feeling the pain. A first-time workshop at the Pharmaceutical Meeting Planners Forum brought together association and pharmaceutical planners to address this growing challenge. We caught up with presenter Gregg H. Talley, CAE, president, Talley Management Group, an association management company in Mount Royal, N.J., after the event to offer his perspective.

MM: How are global regs affecting meetings?
Talley: The biggest issue is sponsorship. Corporate compliance departments are telling their marketing people to be as conservative as they can possibly be — if they go at all. We're seeing [revenue losses] to the significant tune of several hundred thousands of dollars. That's a big number.
MM: What should planners do to mitigate the potential loss of revenue?
Talley: Get a handle on the trends in your international destination. Have a discussion with exhibiting companies as early as possible to work through those issues. That may mean trying to move those dollars from the exhibit floor into a different level of sponsorship. [Options may include] sponsoring events or receptions or sponsoring the shuttle system with explicit signage and messages on the buses' internal video boards.
We as organizations tend to make decisions and bring exhibitors in at the last minute, if ever. Involve those folks earlier because they're going to have some important information to contribute that may make you think very differently.
MM: Will destinations help?
Talley: For some associations that had meetings already booked when the rules were changed, there has been fairly detailed discussion at the destination level about how can they help the association mitigate these damages. [But] I don't think this has raised itself far enough on the radar screen of the tourist authorities and convention and visitors bureaus.

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