Pharmaceutical and medical device companies use a number of methods to market their products. Among them, speaker programs get the most attention, often for all the wrong reasons. As Radha Inguva (LinkedIn), Director of Compliance, The CM Group explains in this podcast, while these programs are designed to educate the medical community they often lead to wrongdoing, with “educational sessions” held at wine tastings, lavish dinners and even Hooters.
To avoid problems, she and others are advocates for what is known as the optics test: basically, asking how a program would look, sound and feel to others. If it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
From a practical perspective, she advises looking at all aspects of the program. Are the menu selections appropriate? Is alcohol served (which it shouldn’t be)? Is there an appropriate amount of educational content? Is the venue consistent with learning? Are there some doctors attending the same program again and again for no apparent reason other than the free lunch? Are the speakers being paid an appropriate honorarium?
Then, after a program concludes, spend time making sure that it makes sense from both a business and optics perspective.
It isn’t just pharma and medical device companies that need to look at the optics. Health care providers are looking at them, too, with some creating blacklists of restaurants that they will not allow people to visit for presentations.
Listen in to learn more about what makes for a speaker program that’s safe to listen to.