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CBI's Aggregate Spend Series -- How It All Began and Where It's Going

Posted by Lauren Donoghue on May 13, 2013 10:03:00 AM

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400 companies. 400 speakers. Nearly 2,000 total attendees. Compliance, legal, finance, meeting, medical affairs, IS/IT executives have all been a part. But how did CBI’s Aggregate Spend conference series begin? Known to the industry as the go-to place for aggregate spend and transparency education, read on to find out how it started and where it’s going.

In 2007, Jackie Harrington, CBI’s Program Management Director, was researching topics for the annual Pharmaceutical Compliance Congress (PCC) when she started to hear concerns from pharma that states had become more involved with regulating sales and marketing activities. Several states (Vermont, Maine, D.C. to name a few) had either proposed legislation or enacted laws that required companies to disclose gifts and payment to physicians. What were the specifics of the regulations, and what other states would follow? With those questions in mind, CBI’s first Aggregate Spend Forum was born.

Fast forward to September, when CBI hosted the first meeting in our Aggregate Spend series. “Tracking State Laws and Aggregate Spend” brought 150 attendees to Washington D.C. to hear Industry perspectives from Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, Novartis, Purdue and Sepracor. In addition, the Delaware Office of the Attorney General, the Maine Medical Association, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, PhRMA and the Vermont State Senate were also on hand to share their thoughts on pending legislation and enforcement of existing laws.

The first meeting on Aggregate Spend discussed updates on the state marketing disclosure laws and solutions for challenges related to data tracking and reporting systems as well as change management strategies. Since 2007, the landscape has evolved and CBI’s conferences have evolved with it. More and more attendees come year after year, all looking to benchmark with their peers on  transparency best practices and ways to improve their spend tracking processes and systems each year. In 2010, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act passed as a provision within PPACA, requiring all pharma, bio, device, and medical supply manufacturers to report transfers of value to HCPs. Now, in addition to the states, there was a federal mandate to track this information nationwide. Attendance soared  as more than 300 traveled to DC for the 4th Annual forum to discuss the now Sunshine law and how to prepare for federal reporting.  But, not before another exciting milestone in the conference series occurred in April – CBI’s Inaugural West Coast Forum on Aggregate Spend, held in San Diego. Designed to be a timely mid-year update, a convenient meeting place for West Coast and Midwest companies and provide tailored content to specifically address the needs of many of the smaller and mid-sized pharma, bio and device companies – this first meeting was an instant success for all involved.

Another favorite among participants is the Benchmarking Sessions. For many years, this was led by the team at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and in 2012 transitioned to be led by representatives of Pfizer and Abbott. Using an electronic audience response system, great benchmarking data is developed surrounding interpretations of the regulations and the progress on the industry’s implementation efforts.  

What were the most memorable sessions with the best practical takeaways? What  ones generated the most buzz? “Definitely the team case studies presented by Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson at our East Coast Forums,” said Gina Glendening, the Senior Program Manager at CBI who has been researching and managing these meetings since 2007.

In 2010, a team of four executives from Medtronic explained how their aggregate spend system evolved from tracking and reporting within one line of business under a CIA, to a sophisticated solution that enabled data collection and reporting across the country to satisfy state requirements, the anticipated federal requirements and positioned their company to move to an enterprise model. At the 2011 event, five executives from different divisions and function areas at Johnson & Johnson presented a case study on how the team was preparing for data collection. They reviewed lessons learned through their current initiatives, including refinements to their current system and training efforts to ensure that they were not only ready for collection, but for reporting to the federal government. Since 2007, there have been more than 175 sessions, case studies, panels and workshops. There have been more than 15 government perspectives and countless ideas exchanged. So, what can you expect at CBI’s 7th Annual Forum on Sunshine & Aggregate Spend?  

  • Two CMS leaders providing an Update on the National Physician Payment Transparency Program (Open Payments)
  • An “Ask the Experts” Panel Discussion to provide color commentary on this year’s benchmarking questions and answers
  • The option to choose between two tracks:
    • Monitoring Data and Processes to Verify Accuracy and Completeness
    • Preparing for Report Submission
  • The option to chose between three pre-conference workshops
    • A Beginner’s Course to Ramp Up on Sunshine and State Law Requirements and Agg Spend Implementation
    • An Intermediate Level Course for Fine-Tuning Policies and Procedures
    • A Master Class on Advanced Data Integrity and Data Analytics
  • The popular Working Group Discussions, with a Tool Box Exchange new this year

The complete agenda will be available shortly, but in the mean time please download our agenda-at-a-glance by clicking on the button below. Also, make sure to visit www.cbinet.com/aggspend for more information. We hope you’ll join us August 19-21 in Washington, D.C. to continue the tradition and prepare yourself for reporting in 2014!

Agg Spend Agenda Preview

Topics: Compliance