Buy Your Own Darn Popcorn!

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies.  PhRMA's members are "devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives."

Among other activities, PhRMA establishes guidelines for its member's participation and sponsorship of educational activities and other events at industry meetings.  Of late, PhRMA has begun tightening restrictions on their members, as have certain states.  These restrictions complicate the member's involvement in such areas as supporting continuing education programs and sponsoring receptions and other events at meetings attended by doctors.  While some of these regulations are likely necessary, it seems that they've gone a bit too far.

Pharma Sign

At the recent American Optometric Association, the new PhRMA regs were very visible.  At one event graciously sponsored by Allergan, where the only food that was available was popcorn, there appeared an interesting sign.  Now I personally know the power of popcorn to change people's lives.  Popcorn is, after all, the reason that I got connected to the eyecare industry way back in 1970 (I'll save that story for another day).  But, in spite of popcorn's power to change the world, I'm having a hard time believing that Dr. Jones is going to change her prescribing habits for Restasis because someone bought her a box. Of course, perhaps this is just a safe way for an entire industry to drive profit improvement.  Popcorn is, after all, pretty darn expensive.    

PS:  My commentary is, in no way, directed at an individual company.  I am acutely aware of the frustration of individual PhRMA member company executives at these new regulations. Further, Cleinman Performance Partners is a significant producer of industry educational programs and our firm benefits from these new regulations.  All that said, I think that the regulators and company attorneys have taken there concerns over influence-peddling to the level of "ludicrous."


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