Industry

PFF gets more international

Data protection, the pricing of medical conventions and cooperation between all industry stakeholders were on the agenda at the Pharma Fortbildungs-Forum in Constance.

Das 34. PFF organisiert den Austausch aller Branchen-Stakeholder. Photo: CIM/Katharina Brauer

Insights by the Rhine. The 34th Pharma Fortbildungs-Forum (PFF) took place on 3 and 4 July 2018 at the Bodenseeforum in Constance. Besides light-filled rooms in Constance, host Jochen A. Lohmar was able to offer the 60 delegates committed expertise in the field of event planning. “Our team has just completed Event Canvas training to enable us to offer our guests custom solutions,” said Lohmar.

Dr Mandy Risch-Kerst of EVENTLawyers Berlin explained what lies behind the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on 25 May. Walks along the banks of the Rhine and Lake Constance provided opportunities for an exchange. The experts turned their attention to pressing issues around the Pharma-Kodex (pharmaceutical code).

Dr Holger Diener, Chief Executive of the FSA, an organisation that seeks to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to regulate itself, joined in from Brussels. He welcomed the generally objective nature of the debate. He made a strong argument for making use of criminal law to protect the transfer of knowledge, which is supported by companies, and for making this transparent. Dr Cerstin Steindorf, Director of MCI Global Healthcare, and Dr Christian-Claus Roth of Novartis Pharma and Co-President of the International Pharmaceutical Congress Advisory Association (IPCAA), explained how the international market is regulated. There are currently 33 different pharmaceutical codes in Europe as well as the superordinate code of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). “The situation is becoming increasingly complex. Countries are beginning to establish their own rules. This is making it more difficult to categorise international medical events,” explained Roth. Dr Cerstin Steindorf explained which national codes are applicable to the individual stakeholders. “Even well-meaning actions can result in major compliance problems. Street maps can no longer be included in welcome packs, because the purpose of the latter is not to encourage delegates to visit tourist attractions,” said Steindorf. This prompted a response from Bastian Fiedler of m:con mannheim:congress, who asked whether delegates are no longer even allowed to get their bearings.

There was a panel discussion on the pricing of medical conventions. Not least due to high hotel prices in Wiesbaden, the congress of the German Society for Internal Medicine (DGIM) was made a day shorter. “Doctors will increasingly have to pay for training events themselves,” asserted Maximilian Broglie of the DGIM. “A minimum stay of three days is now a thing of the past. The hotel industry will have to get used to receiving bookings for one-night stays,” agreed Fiedler. “Convention delegates staying for one night only will present the hotel industry with great challenges,” said Ulrich Schreiber of the Atlantic Congress Hotel Essen. An occupancy rate of 60 per cent is a very good year for his hotel. Fabienne Wild of Ashfield Healthcare said that one factor causing excessive hotel prices was the involvement of too many intermediaries.

Industry stakeholders were able to see how well they were implementing the new GDPR in a workshop. Dr Mandy Risch-Kerst spoke about best practice and developing guidelines for compliance with the GDPR. The audience listened with great interest to what she had to say on what constitutes a legitimate interest, for instance. “Sending the newsletter to all delegates attending our convention in the last five years constitutes a legitimate interest,” said David Friedrich Schmidt of the Deutsche Neurologische Gesellschaft. “Whether an interest is legitimate depends on the purpose behind an action,” explained Dr Risch-Kerst. It is important to inform customers when contact is first made and to give them the right to object to their name being on the list of delegates, for example.

Getting all industry stakeholders to work together in the best possible way is close to the heart of PFF organiser Daniela Thom. To this end, the results of the workshops at the 33rd PFF on 6 December 2017 were analysed once more. Dr Christina Buttler, Director of Experience Development at MCI, moderated the discussions, in which specific suggestions were made to individual industry stakeholders. Dr Holger Diener gave his response to the suggestions made to the FSA in a Skype call. “For anti-trust reasons, we do not publish a list of compliant hotels,” said Diener. He advocated the use of a shared database, for which declarations of consent would be required. The FSA chief executive also welcomed the fact that all industry players were continuing their exchange. The 35th PFF will be taking place on 4 and 5 December 2018 in Leipzig.