The largest gathering of life-science event planners in North America, Pharma Forum is expected to draw more than 450 planners, hoteliers, and other suppliers to the Bethesda North Marriott in Rockville, Md., from September 11 to 14. That in-person event will be followed by a virtual edition of Pharma Forum on September 20-21.
The wide range of issues that will be addressed in educational sessions and networking gatherings is noteworthy. It’s also necessary: In addition to keeping up with changing regulatory guidelines for HCP events, many medical-event planners are struggling to adhere to meal-cap figures because of inflation; getting pushback from hotels on non-compete clauses; and dealing with staffing issues among hotel, foodservice, AV, and other suppliers. And beyond these issues, planners must also ensure that their session lineups and presenters deliver the quality of education and interaction that’s expected by attendees and executives alike.
The good news is that these topics will be covered in Pharma Forum sessions, while show-floor networking will provide planners and suppliers the opportunity to talk and share perspectives on dealing with the most pressing issues facing medical meetings right now. Also, other topics will be introduced or modified for the conference based on the results of a brief medical-planner survey that you can complete here.
One of the most highly anticipated sessions at Pharma Forum is “Managing Supply-Chain Challenges to Deliver on Attendees’ Meeting Expectations.” Dusty Korbel, CMMP, HMCC, global strategy director of meeting and events for Syneos Health, will detail how planners can work proactively with third parties and suppliers to ensure that they have the right number of trained personnel on site to provide the meeting experience attendees want—one that is worth the host’s financial investment. Here’s a tip from Korbel: Planners should ask suppliers how large their service staffs are right now compared to 2019. Also, ask how many of their former employees have been hired back and thus require less training than new full-time employees who came from other companies—or even from other industries.
Another educational session that will grab the attention of Pharma Forum attendees is “Best Practices for Managing Meal Caps Externally and Internally Post-Pandemic." The panel discussion will be led by Michael Varlotta, CCEP, HMCC, president of MLVII Associates. He’ll engage with Robin Macario, principal of meeting & convention services for Genentech, and Cathy Mariano, CMP, HMCC, head of the pharmaceutical & medical client group at Bishop McCann. The trio of experts will discuss the valuable information planners can learn from audits of previous medical events held at preferred hotels and venues, the right ways to approach executives to lobby for meal-cap raises, and other challenges.
And in a physician-led session, planners will hear the calculations HCPs make when deciding whether to travel to an in-person event or simply attend the virtual version—or not participate at all. Further, the doctors will elaborate on the formats they prefer for taking in data and information, for making their opinions and questions heard, and for conversing with fellow HCPs.
For more information on the educational sessions and how to register for Pharma Forum in Rockville, Md., click here.