SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

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February 22, 2017 07:48 ET

30% of Drug Companies Compensate HCPs Differently for International vs. Domestic Air Travel

Pharma Companies Establish FMV Travel Policies for Healthcare Providers

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC and DURHAM, NC--(Marketwired - February 22, 2017) - A study published by Cutting Edge Information found that 89% of surveyed drug company executives did not distinguish between healthcare provider (HCP) tiers when compensating for domestic travel. More companies, however, make compensation distinctions for international travel, according to the data.

The analysis in Travel Policy Compliance for Engaging with HCPs found that 30% of surveyed executives do distinguish between HCP tiers for international travel. Though not a hard and fast rule, industry standard practice calls for companies to avoid distinguishing between tiers when compensating thought leaders for domestic air travel. Drug companies commonly segment healthcare providers -- sometimes referred to as key opinion leaders or external experts -- into tiers based on their experience levels and notoriety within the medical community.

There are discrepancies among company size because surveyed Top 50 and small companies are more likely than their Top 10 pharmaceutical counterparts to distinguish between HCP tiers for domestic travel. Another notable observation from the data shows that regardless of tier, industry standard practice provides all HCPs with economy class on domestic travel.

In terms of international travel, it is an acceptable industry practice to distinguish between tiers when providing thought leaders with international airfare. Top 10 pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, very rarely distinguish between HCP tiers for domestic travel (only 4% of Top 10 firms surveyed), 43% do distinguish between tiers for thought leaders' international travel.

"When performing work for life science companies calls for thought leaders to travel, HCPs need to arrive fit to contribute to different activities," said David Richardson, senior director of fair-market value services at Cutting Edge Information. "Companies often consider both thought leaders' time and comfort. However, they should also be wary of booking travel that exceeds the common practice."

Cutting Edge Information published its pharmaceutical travel policy findings in Travel Policy Compliance for Engaging with HCPs, available at The data analysis captures key aspects of HCP travel policies, such as rates paid for travel time, hotel accommodations, airfare allowances and acclimation time. Pharmaceutical compliance, medical affairs, clinical development and commercial executives use these data and insights to inform their decision-making around thought leader travel policies. Some of the study's insights include:

  • Industry policies for compensating healthcare providers (HCPs) during travel time.
  • Level of HCP travel support (e.g. booking assistance).
  • Practices surrounding preferential hotel arrangements.
  • Differentiation between HCP tiers for air travel accommodations.
  • Class of airline travel for domestic and international journeys by tier.
  • Policies covering activities that warrant travel time reimbursement.
  • Guidelines on acclimation time after international travel.

For more information about Cutting Edge Information's fair-market value services, visit

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