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Covid Consequences on Med-Planners’ Work: Some Bad, Some Good

The pandemic has hurt medical students and young HCPs trying to find mentors through conference networking. But there’s a collaboration upside, too.

The benefits of networking at in-person medical events—and the frustrating inability to replicate those through virtual events—were front and center in a November 1 article in The Wall Street Journal titled "The New Rules foor Networking in the Panemic."

In the piece, a third-year medical student chronicled her challenges in finding mentors at a critical time in her professional development that coincides with the Covid crisis. Further, management experts cited the damage that the lack of in-person networking has on the career progression of young professionals. Medical-association planners must figure out how to facilitate networking or mentoring opportunities for younger members, either through small in-person regional events or through the virtual medium, to continue delivering value to their associations’ communities.

On another note, the pandemic is causing a previously unseen level of information-sharing between pharmaceutical rivals—a practice for which the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission both gave their blessing, according to an October 24 article in The Wall Street Journal titled "GlaxoSmithKline Is Bonding with its Biggest Competitors."

The WSJ report detailed how that firm’s chief scientific officer and head of R&D reached out to his counterparts in other companies to compare notes on which trials should be paused and which should continue, as well as which employees to deem essential so they continue to work on site. That initial contact actually led to conversations between R&D chiefs at several firms, where they shared information about the Covid virus and approaches to drug development.

For planners at pharma and medical-device firms, these examples provide a guide for reaching out to colleagues at other companies in order to commiserate and collaborate on planning duties during the pandemic: how to conduct effective investigator meetings, how to best present trial results, new drug/product developments, and key opinion leaders to HCPs, and more.

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