5 Revealing Ways A PA Can Use An Event Management Company

PA’s are busy people who thrive on juggling priorities and meeting tight deadlines.  They are often tasked with organising many types of events, all to be delivered on time and on budget.  Sometimes using an event management company is a sensible option, and here our very own Office Manager, Ness, discusses some revealing reasons why …

1. Try something a bit different

People get excited by trying something different, so don’t just go back to the same hotel you went to last year.  Event management companies can help you find a unique venue or choose a theme for your event that will make your attendees want to come back next year.  How about a Bollywood themed gala dinner or a truly memorable venue?

2. Getting a Good Deal

Many PA’s don’t realise the options that are out there when choosing a venue, you don’t need to pick the standard menu’s or packages, you can tailor to your requirements and budget.  Event management companies can take all the hard work away by securing a venue or hotel FOC.  They know all the extra’s you can get to make your event really special and they have built up strong relationships with many hotels that can make a big difference in negotiating rates.

3. Production

For smaller conferences and internal events you may find Powerpoint presentations are probably fine.    If you’ve got attendees coming from outside the company it makes a real impact if you choose a more elaborate presentation style, maybe transitioning slides or building in film clips – you will need professional help to achieve this.

4. Getting Everyone There

Booking transport and hotels for events can be a bit of a headache for busy PA’s.   If it’s in the UK then it’s a matter of booking flights, cars and trains to get everyone where they need to be.

Once events start going abroad, then you need even more help to plan it all.  It’s not just a case of going through a travel agent to book flights – how about transfers, where to go for dinner and what you can do at the destination?

5. Maximising Attendance

It’s not enough to organise an amazing conference or exhibition – you need to get enough people attending.  Event management companies are experienced in generating event attendance through targeted exhibitor, delegate and sponsorship marketing and telesales. Speaking to attendees is the best way to guarantee a sell out event.


If you would like some help with an event do get in touch with us – we would love to hear from you. You can event take advantage of our Hour Of Power – find out more here.


5 Unique Event Venues in Sussex

By Samantha Reid, Senior Events Manager.

As an event planning and management agency, we are always on the lookout for great venues that offer something original, which are memorable and that will leave our clients feeling content and that they have had a great event experience with us. Here’s a few venues in Sussex that we think are pretty special and who are definitely worth considering for your next conference, exhibition or gala dinner.

British Airways i360

The British Airways i360 is one of the most unique, exciting new venues in the UK. You can host an exclusive event in their futuristic glass pod or in their contemporary beach-side rooms with private terrace for 10 to 1,100 guests. Offering catering for full banquets, private dining, drinks and canapé receptions, the beachside terrace makes British Airways i360 the ideal venue – enjoy outdoor barbecues, summer cocktails and Nyetimber, England’s finest sparkling wine, while taking in the sea views. Unforgettable!

Fishbourne Roman Palace & Gardens

Imagine the luxury that would once have surrounded the proud owner of this lavish Roman residence. This palace was certainly fit for a king. Fishbourne Roman Palace has several rooms available for hire particularly suited to presentations, meetings, workshops and other events.  The site and gardens are also available for hire for performances and other evening events.

All Saints Chapel

The Chapel is the ideal for events that are looking for a unique setting. The Chapel with the clever use of LED lighting can be transformed into the most extraordinary party venue. There is nothing quite like it in the South of England and we believe offers the best of both worlds, traditional and Modern in a very flexible environment that will make your next event truly magical.

Goodwood Racecourse

Offering breath-taking views across the undulating beauty of the South Downs, to the Solent and the Isle of Wight, Goodwood Racecourse is an idyllic and unique setting. It hosts some of the finest horseracing in the world, including the iconic Glorious Goodwood meeting. For entertaining clients, treating staff, indulging with family and friends or simply sharing a celebration, Goodwood Racecourse is the perfect venue.

Chichester Watersports Centre

Are you looking for a venue to hire for a special occasion or event? Parkers is a unique venue set on the lake side, with panoramic glass doors opening out from the spacious interior onto the large decked balcony with stunning lake views. When the sun sets on the lake it is truly breath-taking. Parkers has facilities to accommodate for 20 – 150 guests, and offer a great service to make every event truly special.

If you need any help finding a unique and engaging venue for your event, get in touch with us today. We’d love to help!

You can also take advantage of our #GetMoore hour – a free hour of our time to help in whichever way you need – whether that’s advice, reviewing a current event format or finding a venue – book in NOW!

Overcoming The Top 3 Challenges Of Managing Advisory Boards

Pharmaceutical companies have long used advisory boards to gain commercial and medical insights about products either in development or already on the market.  An advisory board is “a body that provides non-binding strategic advice to the management of a corporation, organization, or foundation”. For pharmaceutical meetings it can be a meeting that comprises an appropriate number of selected medical advisors who provide the company with relevant advice. Importantly it is run for the benefit of the company, not the attendees.

Here at McCullough Moore we have successfully managed and run a number of advisory board meetings for pharmaceutical clients globally and can help you to deliver your advisory board with optimum results.

Faculty Management

One of the challenges that can surround advisory boards is to manage the faculty. Our clients come to us as they want a seamless meeting delivery and they want to manage the content aspect of the meeting and leave the logistical details to us.

We know that HCPs can sometimes be demanding. We use a travel agent to organise all flights and know responsible ground agents all over the world that can help in facilitating a smooth arrival of sometimes flustered HCPs. Not to mention we always offer alternative suggestions of dilemma’s that may arise.


A key part of pharmaceutical advisory board meetings is compliance. Depending on where faculty come from determines the amount that can be spent on the HCP for food & beverage, accommodation and travel, as well as honorarium payments. We work alongside legal teams within global corporations to ensure compliance at all levels from contracting to the welcome dinner.


It is our business to know the reporting required on global meetings and to ensure that HCP interactions are ethical and transparent. Reporting of a meeting is the final part to the delivery for the client. Pharmaceutical events have to be compliant and the reporting is done to ensure that all limits are adhered to. These include contract management, speaker payments, and transfer of value (TOV) after the meeting. It is our responsibility that we collect and report on the data for compliance and spending purposes. We know how important it is for meeting planners to be diligent and we stay aware of the information coming out of the various authorities, such as PhRMA and codes of conduct so that we can offer the best possible service to our clients.

If you need help arranging your pharmaceutical event, please give us a ring and book in a chat.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

7 Points To Consider When Planning A Pharmaceutical Advisory Board Meeting To Ensure ABPI Code of Practice Compliance

By Shirley Rhodes, our very own Event Director.


Advisory Boards are a chance for pharmaceutical companies to gain expert insight and guidance from key opinion leaders in the field in relation to an aspect of their medicine (clinical use, therapy area guidelines, market access, administration, development, supply etc.). The PMCPA Guidance states:

“Advisory Boards should only be held to enable companies to answer legitimate business questions to which they do not already know the answer.” 

Advisory Boards represent a significant opportunity in the brand development process in a drug lifecycle, however, it should be purely scientific in the content and have no promotional element to it.

The planning of an Advisory Board needs to be meticulous and can be very resource intensive and is therefore sometimes outsourced.  However, when you contract a third party to manage the logistics of an Advisory Board, you need to ensure they operate in a fully compliant manner to ensure your company is represented appropriately.

Below are 7 areas to consider to ensure ABPI compliance logistically:

  1. Venue

The code states inn Clause 22 “meetings must be held in appropriate venues conducive to the main purpose of the event.” This basically means that the hotels cannot be sporting venues, they must be functional business hotels with a maximum of a 4-star rating. Some hotels are unclassified so can also be considered unless it’s clear they are a luxury spa hotel.  Plus, the venue must be in a convenient location for all participants so as to not incur unnecessary cost.  So, the thought of hosting the Advisory Board at a 5-star golf resort on a Greek Island, 2-hours drive from the airport when none of the attendees are coming from Greece is a big no no!

  1. Country approval

Once the Advisory Board date, venue, location and list of invitees has confirmed it is then imperative to seek approval from each country representative for the healthcare professional (HCP) attending.  Each country in the EU has its own regulations regarding reimbursement, minimum amount of meeting time, meal costs etc and before the official invitations are sent out approval must be got from each required county.

  1. Travel

Usually Advisory Boards invite HCPs from all over the world and travel costs can quickly escalate. In order to help budget and manage the costs, all HCPs should be offered Economy (coach) Class for any travel under 6 hours.  For any travel over 6 hours then Business (similar) can be offered.  However, this can differ depending on each individual company’s policy. HCPs may organise and pay at their own expense the genuine cost of an upgrade

  1. Meals

Arranged meals must be deemed appropriate and the costs involved must not exceed that level which the recipients would normally adopt when paying for themselves. The Code of Practice states “the maximum of £75 plus VAT and gratuities is appropriate only in very exceptional circumstances, such as a dinner at a residential meeting for senior consultants or a dinner at a learned society conference with substantial educational content. The cost of a meal (including drinks) should normally be well below this figure.”

The above amount does not apply when a meeting is held outside the UK in a European country, in such circumstances the limits in the host country code would apply. Some countries require a dinner to be no more than €54 including drinks and gratuities.

  1. Expenses

HCPs can submit expenses after the meeting, however it must be reasonable e.g travel to/from the meeting.  Receipts must be submitted for all expenses otherwise they cannot be claimed, so it’s a good idea to be clear about what can and cannot be reimbursed as part of the invitation process.

The payment of travel expenses and the like for persons accompanying the delegate is not permitted.

  1. Honoraria

If an honorarium is offered it should be made clear that it is a payment for work and advice. Honoraria must be commensurate with the time and effort involved and the professional status of the recipients.  Sometimes it is calculated on an hourly rate. When working out the rate to the pay the HCP, you must check the fair market value (FMV).  Again, it’s a good idea to be clear about the expectation of effort in return for the honorarium payment as part of the invitation process.  The payment of any advisory board members must be declared.

  1. Contract & Sign in

Depending on the content being discussed at the Advisory Board and who the HCPs are will determine if a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) will need to be signed.  If it is, then this is imperative the contract is legally approved by the company’s legal team and that it is signed by both the HCP and the pharma company before the start of the meeting. All contracts should then be scanned and stored securely. Furthermore, to ensure compliance, it is imperative that every attendee sign-in to the meeting with the completed sign-in sheet also scanned and stored securely.


Think that’s it?? No time to relax just yet!  Once all the planning has been done and the meeting has taken place then the final activity is the post reporting and ensuring every single expense for each HCP is clearly broken down and detailed with back-up.  It can then be passed to the relevant authorities to ensure complete transparency.

Now not all meeting organisers (third parties and internal pharma company staff) run their Advisory Boards to ABPI standards which can put not only the individual HCPs at risk but also the pharma company. At the very least, the event may be a waste of the attendee’s time; at most, it could compromise the attendees’ professional standing, particularly where attendance constitutes bribery and/or the event is found in breach of the ABPI Code of Conduct.

So, as you can see it’s imperative for all parties involved to ensure your Advisory Board is fully compliant.  The 7 areas listed above are only a few of the logistical elements to consider….there are so many other things to consider such as balance of HCPs to pharma company attendees, objectives are set and clear, time allows for presentation and group discussion, the right level of expert HCPs are invited and many more.


If you need advice on how to ensure your Advisory Board is compliant or need assistance with the logistics of planning an Advisory Board then please book in for a free event consultation with Shirley Rhodes, our Event Director and all round guru in Advisory Board event management. To find out more about our pharmaceutical event management capabilities click here.


10 Quick Tips To Host Excellent Pharmaceutical Events

Planning a pharmaceutical event, workshop, investigator meeting or advisory board can be overwhelming, but once you have these key elements in place the process will be a much smoother journey to the end result.

#1 – Plan and Coordinate

The nature of pharmaceutical events is that sometimes the lead time can be short and you only have a few weeks to organise the event. The key factors in any event management role is to be highly organised and work to strict deadlines. These deadlines can include setting up registration websites, marketing, print and supplier deadlines. A timeline is a good document to work with, which covers all elements of the meeting, key dates and deadlines. It is a good idea to set-up regular in house team meetings and calls to go through each element of the meeting and its progress.

#2 – Speakers and Agenda

Firm up the Agenda even if it is a draft as this will determine the event schedule for each day. With Pharma events there’s a process that you have to follow in order to invite a speaker to a meeting. Every business is slightly different in the process, so it is good to get an understanding from the beginning before the process of invitation has started. It is good to identify the speakers, ask for biog and pictures from the speaker or medical content agency. Study the pictures and this will help with your onsite speaker management to recognise your speakers as they arrive at the venue.

#3 – Thinking Ahead

Don’t think of just the here and now, to run a great event you need to always be thinking ahead, be ahead of the game. Think about all the possibilities and scenarios for each element of the event. In your kick-off call ask all the questions you can think of surrounding the event and all the eventualities. This avoids lots of questions throughout the planning, as most people are very busy and they just want to be able to rely on you and get on with their job. This also applies to your suppliers to avoid lots of emails, try and ask all the right questions in the outset and provide them with all the information they require.

#4 – Make Friends

In this industry you will work with many different suppliers and contractors all over the world and it is very important that you build a good relationship with them as they are in fact an extension of you. It is important that they deliver a high-quality service with a smile just as we do. So, make friends and build those relationships to deliver a smooth-running event.

#5 – Pester

Unfortunately, you do have to chase and pester your suppliers and even speakers for details in order to move forward on a project. If you don’t have all the information you require, do pester, chase and remind people of deadlines as this is the only way you can move forward, be the initiator, do not wait.

#6 – Negotiate

Everything is negotiable, always get around 3 quotes per supplier. Remember that with every event there will be unforeseen costs, so try to negotiate as low a price as you can. Determine your budget before meeting a vendor and offer to pay 5-10% lower than this figure. Your vendor may put up a fight, but ultimately, they want to win your business if they can.

#7 – Pharma Code

The Pharma code of conduct and iHCP’s guidelines can restrict a Pharmaceutical event. It is important that you research and abide to these guidelines. If you have HCP’s attending from different countries they will have limits on meals, dinners, transport, accommodation etc. This cost can vary, this can also depend on which country the event is being held. It is important that you get a list of which countries are attending the event in the outset or as soon as possible so you can set the costs per attendee for your budget.

#8 – Venues

Due to the compliance you are restricted to cost and venue types. Meeting environments can be limiting – try and think out of the box for the meeting and dinner venue. Attendees are cooped up a lot of the time in meetings so food is very important and some fresh air. If you are limited to being at a hotel for the duration of the meeting due to time restrictions and location, be creative with the coffee breaks, lunches and food. If you have an off-site dinner, if compliant, again be creative with venue, transportation and food. Tie it in with the branding or subject matter.

#9 – Location

If attendees and speakers are coming from all over the world, think about hotels and venues that are easy to reach by plane and train for the countries attending the meeting.

#10 – Delivering Your Event

You have been planning meticulously and now the big day has arrived.  It’s essential you have a master event plan, running order and a team briefing for everyone involved – your team, all the suppliers, venue, caterers, security and any other relevant parties. Remember the complexity of many events mean that challenges may occur during the course of the event and this is when a strong, skilled and most importantly, a well briefed team really comes into its own.  Ensure that all team members know the decision-making structure and what to do in an emergency.

If you need help arranging your pharmaceutical event, please give us a ring and book in a chat.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

6 Key Reasons You Should Be Using An Event Management Company

By Billie Moore, Director, McCullough Moore


There are many benefits to using an event management company to manage your event – stress reduction being just one of them, my clients tell me!  Running an event is a complex and costly exercise so the preparation and management of every detail counts. Here are our top 6 key reasons to use a professional event management company:

1) Saves you time and money

By outsourcing your event management to a company that runs events day in day out, you will save time and money.  An event management company has established relationships with hotels, venues and suppliers and can negotiate excellent rates on your behalf. They also know all the added value you can get – getting you more for your money and adding to the experience. All these insider relationships and tips mean you save money on everything you need.

An event management partner saves you time because all you have to do is agree the date and location with the event company and the rest will be taken care of. Additional things you make overlook like insurance get covered as part of the service and it is great to hire a company who you can trust to look after everything from the original concept to the delivery on the day.

An event management company will save you and your team late nights, headaches and the hassles of organising the event yourself.

2) Gives you creative ideas and proven event formats that will work for you

Event organisers will give you new and exciting ideas for your events – formats that are tried and tested and solutions they know will work well and are tailored specifically for you. Depending on your requirements, they will recommend an event format to suit you, your audience and your budget. Wow factor doesn’t have to break the budget! Event managers bring a lot of experience into play which means you can be confident that your event will be a success.

3) Expert planning and budget management to ensure overall event success

The initial brief and planning is critical to a flawlessly executed event.  A successful event requires a detailed master plan and a timeline and budget that is adhered to. An event management company will create these for you and agree from the outset the key objectives, responsibilities and targets.  This plan details every logistical and sales element that needs to take place and is the working bible of any event manager.  It will be a working document and continually updated, and will give you the flexibility and peace of mind to make sure all elements of your event are taken care of. The budget will be created by an experienced event planner who understands ALL the costs involved and the variances that can occur. This will be managed and any variances to plan highlighted and appropriate actions taken. There is no re-inventing the wheel and learning by your mistakes as an event management company will ensure you success from the get-go.  After all event management is a minefield and no-one can afford to make mistakes.

4) Technology that gives your attendees a professional and slick journey

Event management companies use an array of tools and software that allows them to communicate with attendees slickly and professionally. This can be anything from creating an event specific website that showcases all your event details such as the conference programme, map, attendee list, the exhibitor list, speaker photos and biographies – to online registration.  The tools will take the attendee right through to the delivery of joining instructions and finally a text message reminder of the venue postcode the day before. These systems ensure your event is professional and slick for all attendees.

Another key area of technology is the AV requirements of your event and to select and work with an AV team that deliver the best solution with the best pricing. Event management companies will have trusted suppliers that they work with and know will deliver every time – and if you’re on a tight budget it’s essential to know what you can and can’t do without.

5) Professional delivery on the day

The two most vital ingredients to a slick event delivery onsite is firstly preparing a detailed event plan for all to use. This would list day by day, hour by hour what rooms would be used, how they should be set, what deliveries are expected, what time refreshment, lunch and dinners should be ready, which staff are responsible for what and so on.  And secondly having a well briefed and experienced team managed by an event director with responsibility for the overall event. An event management company would ensure both of these allowing you to network and focus on enjoying the event with your guests. In particular business clients appreciate full attention from their hosts and are open to building relationships and planning future business endeavours during an event.

6) Managing your risk and keeping you and your attendees safe

An event is full of uncertainties that might be encountered like power failure, a medical emergency or even a fire. This is where using an event management company pays dividends as you’ll have experienced staff onsite that would know what to do should an incident arise. Prior to the event a good health & safety management plan would have been devised and submitted to the venue. This would determine all the risks and implementation of the strategies to help remove the risk.

Choosing to hire an event management company just makes good sense if you want to have a successful event that you and your guests can enjoy. All the planning and management of your event will be so much simpler when handled by an event management company!

Top 5 Money-Saving Tips to Maximise Your Event Venue Budget

Sourcing a venue for an event seems straightforward enough, but how can you make sure you get the best deals and maximise your budget?  Below are 5 top money saving tips to help you get more for your money.

1) Select cheaper days of the week

Typically Tuesday to Thursday are the busiest days for venues so if you are flexible on dates then look at Mondays and Fridays. Availability will be better and venues will be more willing to negotiate on the price on these days.

2) Space-saving layouts will save money

Selecting the right room set up for your event can have a significant impact on the venues available to you and their price as layout determines the size of the room you require. Space saving set ups like theatre style can use up to half the space of a room set up cabaret style.  Your requirements may mean you are fixed to a specific set up, but if you do have flexibility then go for a space saving layout.

3) Be realistic on numbers

Being realistic on the number of people attending your event can save you a lot of money. All too often people book their venue for the highest possible denominator only to have much fewer people on the day. Typical attendance figures are 10% lower than the highest possible turnouts so think about booking your venue for this number. What if more people turn up? Plan this with the venue. Tell them what you are doing and ask what impact more people will have, how they will accommodate them and how much extra you will pay for them. Venues may charge extra costs for additional people on the day but in most cases it will pay dividends.

4) Compare venue proposals

Make sure you get enough venue proposals to make an informed decision. Three proposals is quite often seen as enough but we would always encourage people to get at least five. Comparisons can be more easily drawn from this amount and you can use the information from the unsuccessful proposals during negotiation.

5) Think about more than just discounts

When negotiating, don’t just think about getting money off the fees, but consider what extras the venue can throw in. If a venue will not budge on price, ask them to include things like an upgraded lunch and refreshments, AV equipment and even event management support.

You could also consider using an event management company to run your event – they would already have relationships with venues and a strong stance to negotiate on your behalf.

Realise The Power of Experiential Events

By Samantha Reid, Senior Events Manager.

When marketing your brand, product or service in this day and age you have to be a little bit shrewd and very much clever to reach your target audience effectively. With today’s shoppers conditioned to block out much of the marketing noise communicated on the day2day it’s not surprising that more and more brands are turning their attention and their budgets to experiential, to deliver something a little bit special, to enrich the shopping experience in a unique and memorable way. Interestingly, several reports have been released this year which reinforce this trend among brands in what has become a very diverse market, revealing that marketers are expecting to increase spend on experiential by up to 50% in the next three to five years. We have seen a huge increase in companies big and small now starting to think past the standard ATL approach of traditional marketing and have a much sharper focus on how to connect with audiences on a more emotive level, to help forge true customer loyalty.

So what is Experiential?

To put it simply, experiential is a form of marketing that offers consumers an opportunity to engage with brands in a way that ignites the senses and allows brands to become tactile. Using clever creative and strategy, brands are now able to create emotionally driven experiences that leave the consumer feeling that they have become part of the brands story, leaving with an enriched shopping experience that is both memorable and ‘news worthy’ among friends, colleagues and family – therefore driving positive word of mouth in additional to promoting their experience online through social media. Of course, in reality strategy and supporting collateral play a big part in the overall execution, but in a nutshell, this does give an idea of what experiential is and how it works.

Facts don’t lie

There are definitely a number of great benefits of investing in experiential marketing and incorporating it into the marketing mix, but here’s a few facts that tend to stand out. 98% of shoppers interested in a service or product are more likely to convert to purchase following a positive brand led experience, while 65% will actually purchase the product or service directly following or whilst at the event. In addition to this, the EventTrack survey, the largest annual survey of the experiential marketing industry, indicated that 79% of brands are expected to increase their spending on experiential marketing. Interestingly 81% of brands who invest in experiential experience huge spikes in brand awareness among consumers in the market, resulting in 62% of consumers gaining a much greater level of product and/or service knowledge as a direct result of their experiential event. Quite impressive eh!

Want to know more? Here are a few more reasons to consider if experiential is right for you!

Lead Generation

Experiential marketing events provide a brilliant opportunity to generate valuable leads as they put brands and service face to face with their market. In fact, over 50% of companies invest in experiential events every year for this purpose. 

Brand Discovery

Nothing is more effective that allowing consumers to discover information about your company for themselves in an original way. Allowing consumers to feel, touch, taste, hear and smell a product, promotes ‘try before you buy’ and aids impulse purchases.

Positive Direct Interaction

Forging lasting relationships with consumers can be challenging. Experiential however helps to breach that gap, through branded face to face human contact, which is more likely to stick in consumers’ minds and keep them returning to the company.

Brand Awareness

Emotive experiential activity tends to draw audiences in naturally, who are waiting to absorb your brand’s message. Conveying brand values in this way, will help to create organic sharing of your messages, which in turn will bring a certain level of authenticity to the experience.

Word of Mouth

The fact is, that people trust people and with social media playing a huge part in brand awareness, ensuring your experience ‘news worthy’ and easily shareable is paramount. Memorable experiences really do pave the way for organic recommendations and exposure.

Experiential Is Fun!

Everyone likes events – experiential marketing campaigns are fun for the companies that host them, and fun for the consumers who partake in them. Combine the fun factor with the high ROI that can be had, and it’s hard to see how anyone can say that this isn’t for them!


Want find out more about how experiential can work for you? Get in touch today.


Top 3 Focus Areas For An Excellent Pharmaceutical Investigator Meeting

For those operating within the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors, investigator meetings are undoubtedly one of the most important meetings to take place.

They provide healthcare professionals with the crucial training they need in order to know how to participate in the clinical trials that will move their drugs and devices forward.

But, what are the tricks for a successful meeting?

At the 2017 Pharma Forum Conference, Heidi Cocca, meeting manager at Merck, shared her advice on delivering a successful investigator meeting and we wholeheartedly agree. We wanted to share it with you and so here are her ‘three C’s’ to a successful meet:

  1. Compliance: According to Cocca, there are three different areas to approach compliance:
    1. Internal compliance such as meetings policy, travel policy and protection policies.
    2. Country requirements: this relates to the policies of the HCP’s home country e.g. caps on meal expenditure.
    3. Pharma compliance: Ensuring compliances with the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use, or ICH, guidelines and transparency reporting.

Each of the above should be adhered to and respected if you are to stay within the compliance framework requirements.


  1. Consistency: Consistency is another important factor to help ensure investigators come away with the same knowledge and experience of the drugs and devices, regardless of where the meeting took place or who they met with. “We want to make sure that if you are an investigator from South Carolina, you walk away with the same knowledge and experience as an investigator from the Ukraine,” she said. Consistency needs to transcend through:
    1. Cost-effectiveness
    2. Learning styles
    3. Content

Consistency is also important as it also helps ensure that your meetings are in line with the industry standard so HCP’s don’t perceive your investigator meetings as an easy provider of meals and accommodation.


  1. Cost Effectiveness: While cost-saving is important, it should be remembered that this doesn’t necessarily mean cutting back, it’s more about making sure you get value for your money. Your responsibility should be with looking at the most effective means of building relationships and training HCPs. Spend enough so that they see the value, but not too much that they come to expect it time after time.

Taking this approach could help you get the most out of your meetings. Cocca however also stressed that remembering to pay attention to learning styles, getting your content right and encouraging interaction must sit right at the heart in the delivery of any investigator meetings too.


If you need help with your investigator meetings, give us a call or book a free consultation with us face to face or over the phone / skype.

10 Key Things To Consider When Planning A Pharma Advisory Board

Whether you’re about to embark on your first, or whether you’re a seasoned veteran, organising pharmaceutical advisory boards can be overwhelming. For the pharma industry, they are a crucial means of gathering insight but can sometimes be onerous and unclear. Yet, organised properly and with clear objectives agreed at the outset, the benefits are substantial.

Here are our 10 top things to consider when planning a pharmaceutical advisory board meeting.

Before the meeting

1 – Define and agree SMART objectives in advance. Identify what it is you need to know and create a list of what you would like to get out of the session. Being clear on your needs will help keep you focused.

2 – Create a purposeful agenda. Don’t feel that you have to cram everyone and everything into the session. Think about who will add the most value and what the advisors are most likely to want to need and know. If something is a nice-to-have but not essential, you may want to consider leaving it out altogether.

3 – Share the agenda in advance. This will ensure everyone will come to the meeting with a clear idea of what to expect and a running order to work through.

4 – Be authentic. People can quickly see through woolly responses so plan ahead and plan for direct questions so that you can answer honestly without running the risk of upsetting the balance or the healthcare professionals.

5 – Involve everyone. Remember that everyone processes information in different ways. There will be some naturally more willing to provide feedback but don’t forget about those who are perhaps taking time to process the information being shared with them. Try to involve all of those who will be at the meeting itself.

6 – Remember it’s a journey. No meeting should be a destination in itself – keep in mind that you might not come away with all the answers, but it’ll certainly help get you on the way.

7 – Brief the Chair and speakers. The most well-organised meeting will fail if the Chair has not been properly briefed. You might want to consider a conference call in advance, or a practice run in person, perhaps during the on-site slide review. Whatever the preference and feasibility, try and fit in a dress rehearsal.


During the meeting:


8 – Have an agenda to hand. You would have already (hopefully) run through the agenda but make sure there’s a hard copy available so that the Chair can help keep on track.

During the conversation draw on open ended questions and encourage responses and vary content between presentations and workshops.

9 – Use the agenda to form the basis of your write-up. By planning in advance and having clear objectives, writing up the meeting should be straight forward if you follow the flow of your agenda.

10 – Thank them for their time. It sounds obvious but don’t forget to thank participants for their time and remind them of your contact details should they have any questions. Also send them a copy of the report once it’s ready.


We are experienced in arranging pharmaceutical advisory boards and ensuring they are fully ABPI compliant. If you need help with your pharma event give us a call or book in a free event consultation face to face of over skype.