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| Written by the M&IW Team

Insights from Pharma Forum 2023

On March 19–22, 2023, New York City was the place to be for medical meeting and event professionals thanks to the industry’s largest, most influential conference: Pharma Forum. We were thrilled to have M&IW team members both attending and presenting at this impactful conference.

In addition to networking and learning, our attendees were also promoting M&IW’s upcoming book, How to Plan Medical Meetings and Events. This educational book will cover the fundamentals of medical meeting planning and will also serve as the official source for MPI’s new Medical Meetings Professional (MMP) certification.

Now, our team members are sharing their knowledge! Read on to learn about their insights from the 2023 Pharma Forum.

Headshot of Christina Lofton

Christina Lofton, CMP

Customer Success Manager

“I’ve never been to Pharma Forum before, but I was excited to attend to launch the inaugural MMP certification course, promote the new book, and learn from and interact with other pharma meeting professionals. Overall, hearing from other industry peers in how they conduct business and interacting with suppliers to learn about their services and how they are impacted helped me grow in my area of expertise.

One of the presenters talked about the importance of leaving the past in the past. Individuals continue to bring up ‘the way things were’ in 2019, but we are in 2023, and we need to keep looking forward. There were a lot of forward-thinking ideas at the conference, including an impactful presentation that didn’t use a PowerPoint and a fully vegetarian lunch that was delicious! All of the meals were built around networking, so it was interesting to hear other points of view on the menu from non-vegetarians. I also enjoyed that HCPs and a patient were involved in some sessions. It was nice to hear from them directly on their journeys and preferences.”

Rachel Egan, CMP, HMCC

Sr. Event Sourcing Manager

“I’ve attended Pharma Forum in the past, and I wanted to return because it gives me a chance to see US sales contacts in person. I was able to sit with management and sales teams to give an overview of M&IW’s pharma business, the volume, how we best work, and how they can help us present the best options to our customers. There’s no substitute for face-to-face, in-depth conversations with those we do business with every day.

Some of my biggest takeaways are that we are back at full steam post-COVID, but that means compression is at its highest for finding proper meeting space and hotel rooms over preferred dates. You must start looking many months in advance for smaller meetings and years in advance for larger meetings. An added challenge is that although everything is more expensive now, budgets for HCPs remain the same. Specifically, negotiating HCP limits for meals where the product is still something both the third part and the hotel can be proud of is a challenge across all pharma meetings.”

Sara O’Neil

Director, Marketing

“I had never attended this conference but was really excited to for a number of reasons. First, pharma is such a big customer base for M&IW, so I was looking forward to meeting our suppliers and being inspired by new ideas. Just as important was being able to promote and receive feedback on our new book. It’s a great conference, and as a first timer, they really have a lot of resources to make you feel welcome and help you navigate the experience. It really proved that there is no substitute for human interaction.

Sustainability was probably the biggest hot topic I saw. For example, hotels are very aware of their environmental footprint and have data to prove that the efficiencies they have created have a positive impact. DEIB is another big topic that people in this space aren’t just talking about anymore—they are promoting action that we can all take. Also, the in-person conference energy has returned! Suppliers are more interested in partnerships than ever before and are asking how we can make an event a win-win for each other and help the customer together.”

Mozelle Goodwin, CMP, HMCC

Sr. Event Experience Manager

“I have attended several Pharma Forums over the years and have been on the Advisory Board for approximately five years. It is the largest meeting industry conference dedicated to medical programs, and the networking is priceless. It proves that a few days away from the office with industry colleagues is well worth it. Discovering innovative ideas and meeting new resources cannot always be done virtually, over the phone, or via email.

One key takeaway is that for healthcare meetings, the surge of business and lack of ideal resources is something everyone is challenged with. We have to be more mindful in utilizing business partnerships to support one another and grant ourselves and others some grace. It was also helpful to attend the physician panel. Getting their opinion is valuable to understand how they select which educational sessions they plan to attend based on their professional and personal parameters. Understanding HCP’s expectations and mindset is key to success.”

Headshot of Pat Schaumann

Pat Schaumann, CMP, CSEP, DMCP, HMCC

Principal Consultant, Life Sciences

“I have been a speaker at Pharma Forum for the past 11 years. The conference is the premier educational go-to for our industry, and attendance was up significantly. The MMP certificate class and HMCC class specifically both had high attendance with great interaction. I am excited to see the attendance grow even larger.

Staffing was a major topic of conversation, both about fixing the shortage of talent with proper staff incentives and attention to mental wellness and about preparing new professionals in the industry. The MMP certificate program, which will be taught using M&IW’s book How to Plan Medical Meetings and Events, is designed for planners with 1–3 years’ experience, and that session was hugely successful, demonstrating the need for medical meeting basics training.”

Headshot of Dan Tarpey

Dan Tarpey, HMCC

Vice President, Sales & Marketing

“I attended Pharma Forum to reconnect with customers and industry colleagues and to support the M&IW team with our MMP training and book. My biggest takeaway though is that in-person conferences of this magnitude are back and strong. I learned some interesting stats from an industry survey by Freeman which found that as of winter 2022, all industries were back to 87% of attendance at events compared to 2019 numbers. The healthcare industry specifically has come back at 72% for in-person events, so there’s still room for growth. A study also found that 83% of American Millennials and Gen Z have a newfound appreciation for in-person interactions as a result of the pandemic, which is great news for the future of events.”

Interested in working with our team or learning more about their Pharma Forum experience? Contact us.

Interested in joining the M&IW team? Check out our open positions.