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Delivering ‘certainty’ for our clients through ‘The Compliance Alliance’

By Andrew Moore


Our clients choose to work with us for a multitude of reasons. We offer creativity and flair, we provide insights and expertise. We understand our clients’ objectives, values and raison d'être.  We interrogate and explore, we refine and we deliver meetings and events that provide positive and lasting impressions on delegates and our clients alike. But delivering meetings and events with impact is only part of what we do and who we are.

We find ourselves at a time and place whereby our clients, and by association, we at Ashfield Meetings & Events, are facing ever-increasing regulatory pressure and scrutiny over our activities and interactions with healthcare professionals. Ensuring that we operate in an ethical and compliant manner, that our understanding, systems, processes and procedures are robust is of paramount importance in the modern-day healthcare industry.

As the principal events agency servicing the healthcare industry, our understanding and navigation of the regulatory environment is a contributing and often decisive factor as to why so many of the world’s leading pharma companies employ our extensive array of services. This encompasses the ‘certainty’ part of our business proposition – delivering meetings and events with certainty and impact.

Our consultative approach to healthcare compliance sees us partner with clients to ensure that the meetings and events that form such a critical part of their marketing and medical education mix, are conducted within the confines of local and global codes of conduct.

As our clients all have varying and different readings of codes and self-regulate to mitigate risk, it’s our commitment to value and abide by these interpretations so we develop rigorous client-specific training programmes as we on-board new clients or induct new staff. In addition to this, there are a number of elements that we can teach our teams, almost ‘parrot-fashion’ or by instruction. What is the UK ABPI maximum spend for evening meals? What is the equivalent allowance for French or German HCPs? These figures, whilst of critical importance, can be taught from a shopping list of numbers. The subjective nature of venue selection can be overcome by adopting an element of common sense, when definitive limits nor hotel ratings are spelt out and ambiguity rules. However, it’s the real-world experiences that pose the greatest challenge.

That’s why at Ashfield Meetings & Events, we have established the ‘Compliance Alliance’. This is a peer-led training programme and online resource that combines our collective experiences to develop best practice and a gold-standard response to those awkward situations and conversations whilst onsite. When an eminent professor tries to ‘smuggle’ their partner into an awaiting airport transfer (see example below); or an industry-leading KOL assumes their accompanying partner is welcome to join a dinner meeting. These are the situations that all the planning in the world will not remedy, but that you can all but guarantee will happen on far too frequent an occasion.

The Compliance Alliance provides our staff with coaching techniques, guidance and advice on how best to manage these delicate situations, ensuring that our client’s ethical and compliant reputation is upheld with diplomacy and sensitivity. The regulatory landscape is detailed, complex and ever-evolving. It is our duty to ensure we remain at the forefront of the regulatory environment, continue to provide that certainty of delivery, offer compliant solutions, guidance and advice.


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