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Key Takeaways from IPCAA

The International Pharmaceutical Congress Advisory Association (IPCAA) held their annual conference on compliance live this year across two days with a packed audience in Prague, full of valuable insights and engaging discussions. Our team from the Life Sciences Center of Excellence were in attendance and here, Tamara Dent, Director Global Compliance-Life Sciences, Kaja Westdijk, Congress Project Director & Louise Kjaertinge, Congress Account Director share what’s top of mind in world of congresses and compliance today.


BCD Meetings & Events speakers standing in front of IPCAA signage


The Realities of Meal Caps

The topic of country meal caps and inflation had the entire room engaged in conversation. Planning meals to fit within an array of country specific meal caps is a very complex and time-consuming part of congress logistics. There is no quick fix. Governments and regulatory bodies seem to be slow to adjust caps in accordance with inflation. Denmark is one of the first who recognized this and in 2023 raised their meal caps to be more realistic. The group agreed they hope to see other countries follow suit.


The Patient Voice

There is a big push from patient advocates and patient organizations to be present at congresses. The European Haematology Association has incorporated patients into the congress space by including a Patient Advocacy Booth and a meeting space for patients and their caregivers.

But having patients present at congresses creates challenges. Exhibit booth content is reviewed and approved under the regulatory assumptions that it will be viewed by HCPs. Generally, local laws lump patients with the “general public”. Despite this, pharma companies may benefit from interactions with patient experts to reinforce the needs of patients.


HCP Congress Attendance

HCPs still find significant value in attending in-person congresses, as was made evident by record attendance at many congresses in 2023. However, HCPs outside of the U.S. depend on sponsorship by pharmaceutical companies, and if sponsorship opportunities decrease, HCPs expect their congress attendance may decrease as well. This in turn limits their engagement with industry. Survey results shared indicated that HCPs attending congresses value scientific and educational sessions, networking, abstract sessions and keynote speeches the most.


The Value of Data

We all know pharmaceutical companies thrive on data, however meeting and congress data may not be fully captured and/or utilized. HCP interactions at congresses should be part of an omnichannel marketing strategy, and data from congress apps could be used to better understand HCP preferences and behaviours.


Originally published Feb 20, 2024

Written by Tamara Dent, Kaja Westdijk & Louise Kjaertinge

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