Meetings 411: Lunches for Medical Meetings

Lunch BoxesUnder the 2010 federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which incorporated which provisions of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, pharmaceutical companies are required to record transfers valued at over $10. March 30, 2013 was an important milestone as transfers between January 1, 2012, were to be reported.

In September 2013, this data will be accessible on the Department of Health & Human Services website. It will be interesting to see how practices evolve and the impact this has on event planners. I thought it would be helpful to have a quick re-cap of some of the guidelines that impact medical meetings and a few examples of resources that may be helpful.

In 2002, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America introduced the Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals (PhRMA Code). The PhRMA Code established ethical guidelines for manufacturers of pharmaceutical products to follow voluntarily in their marketing initiatives. In 2009, the code was revised setting limits in a number of areas including:

  • how much speakers could be paid
  • restrictions on providing mugs, note pads, pens, etc. with logos
  • limiting exhibitor giveaways to educational items of modest value
  • food and beverage guidelines, including the situations in which meals could be provided
  • prohibition of restaurant meals in conjunction with marketing presentations

Massachusetts, Vermont and Minnesota also have state laws governing marketing initiatives and interactions between pharmaceutical companies and physicians. The Massachusetts ban on physician meals was repealed in 2012, but it is still in place in Vermont.

In all other jurisdictions, PhRMA Code guidelines apply, stipulating that modestly priced meals in conjunction with presentations are permitted in hospital and office settings. (This is due to the fact that these presentations often take place during the lunch hour or at the end of the day.) It is not surprising that there are now a number of services specializing in preparing and delivering lunches to physicians offices and hospitals for small and large meetings.

  • Order Doctor Lunch
    Offering service in the New York and Tri-State area, this service simplifies the process of ordering and providing lunch for meetings in physicians' offices. Lunches range from $15 - $20.
  • Doctors Lunch Delivery
    With lunch prices ranging from $7.00 to $15.00, Doctors Lunch Delivery based in Los Angeles makes providing lunch for medical presentations easy and convenient.
  • Order Lunch
    Through this Phoenix-based service, lunches can be ordered on-line for delivery during in-office presentations.
  • Rx Catering
    Located in Birmingham, Alabama, RX Catering provides a full range of catering services for the medical industry. There are also locations in Washington, DC, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Houston Texas.
  • Delivery Now
    This New Jersey based company does all the legwork to provide affordable catering for medical meetings.

For more tips also consult Making Working Lunches Healthy, Interactive and Fun and Business Meetings: 7 Alternatives to the Working Lunch on Cvent Event Blog.

Photo Credit: yuichi.sakuraba

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