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Live from the West Coast Life Sciences Meeting Management Forum

With the first day of the West Coast Meeting Management Forum 2012 under my belt (and finally a good night's sleep!), here are a few random thoughts I thought I'd share before heading down to breakfast and the start of Day 2:

* After several years of Sunshine Act anticipation, I thought I'd pretty much heard it all. But then Janna Sipes, presidentof BioPharma Consulting and former pharma chief compliance officer, opened with an eye-opening keynote on the act. A really lively, funny, get-you-going speaker, she was especially engaging when she climbed on her soapbox: "The pharma industry has a bad reputation with the public that is unwarranted...Those who don't like the pharmaceutical industry shouldn't take aspirin, or eyedrops, or sleeping aides." While she did acknowledge some bad actors in the past, for which pharma companies have paid dearly in fines and other penalties, "most have integrity" and do the important work of helping patients.

Anyway, auditors are going to be looking for "weird stuff," anomolies like one doc being paid 10 times what others doing equivalent work are getting, and also Qui Tam (whistleblower) cases. She walked through a case study of how Sunshine will affect speaker programs--which I will write up when I have some more time.

* Peter Burberry with Allergan lent his charming British accent to a brief run-down of where pharma transparency rules and regs stand in various countries around the world. No big surprise, but pretty much every country has something, though many are voluntary association codes, similar to the U.S.'s PhRMA and Advamed Codes. One great tip he offered for those who are dealing with tracking spend for international meetings: Create a glossary of terms/data dictionary that spells out exactly what the terms you're using mean so everyone is speaking the same language, at least in one sense.

* Ashish Kalgaonkar with Eli Lilly galloped through how his company is tracking and reporting physician spend inside and outside the U.S., via phone and remote PowerPoint, which thankfully went off without a hitch. One of my favorite parts was where he put up this very simple, data in, analyze, report out slide that regulators think the pharma reporting process is, then the slide with how the data collection process really looks like, which was more like a plate of spaghetti! 


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