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May 15, 2019
Updates from the IPCAA Compliance Seminar
Updates from the IPCAA Compliance Seminar

IPCAA is the International Pharmaceutical Congress Advisory Association ( www.ipcaa.org) and is a membership organization of all of the major global pharmaceutical companies. The purpose of the organization is to enhance the dialog between all the major players in medical meetings. A large part of this is the annual compliance seminar, held in April this year in Berlin. Typically the participation is a mix of the pharma companies, medical societies and their organizing partners. CTI was represented by Richard Rettenbacher and Keith Foley.

A fixed part of the annual agenda is always the latest voluntary or mandatory directives from EFPIA, IFPMA and MedTech (EUCOMED) Europe. These are the regulating bodies that represent the pharma and medical device companies. Depending on the voluntary or mandatory nature of the code, the member companies are obliged to follow this code. It is worth noting that the code for the medical device companies (Medtech) is much stricter than the pharma codes (EFPIA and IFPMA). Details are beyond the scope of this brief report, but you can see more at: https://www.efpia.eu/; https://www.ifpma.org/; https://www.medtecheurope.org/.

The three regulating bodies reported on their latest updates, which essentially continue the much stricter rules relating to the way in which physicians are invited to and received at international and European medical meetings. This also applies to physicians from these regions attending US meetings. The implementation of these guidelines is often hampered by cultural norms in individual countries where one practice may be widely accepted, but conflicts with the guidelines. The latest code changes from EFPIA will become effective from June 2019, for IFPMA that was January 2019. Medtech Europe implemented their last (and very strict) codes in January 2018. For example, all medical device meetings/congresses have to be submitted to MedTech for approval as a recognized education event. Not only is this a huge administrative burden on organizers, companies cannot participate if it is not approved and this is mandatory.

The constant theme of the seminar was ‘trust’. Many of the speakers kept coming back to the main goal of ensuring that the dialog between medical meetings and pharma emphasized the important of transparency and trust that trickles down to the patient, who is the ultimate beneficiary. Indeed, there was also a feeling that many meetings in the future will start to involve patient groups as active participants. Those that already do this have the additional headache that only physicians are allowed on the exhibition floor. Time will tell.