Table 2

Characteristics of pharmaceutical industry spending on educational events for healthcare professionals from the Educational Events databases

CompanyOctober 2011–September 2015October 2015–April 2018*
MerckMSDTotalMerckMSDTotal
Total cost, $ (%)2 146 816 (55.0)1 755 776 (45.0)3 902 592422 194 (68.1)197 477 (31.9)619 671
Median event cost, $ (IQR)1000 (300–2500)310 (133–1789)684 (167–2136)1571 (1090 –3577)18 636 (5000–22 000)2000 (1,106–5500)
Total attendances, No. (%)†12 287 (53.3)10 763 (46.7)23 0504224 (63.5)2424 (36.5)6648
Median attendees/event, no. (IQR)20 (11–38)11 (5–20)14 (8–27)23 (15–40)120 (66–140)27 (16–63)
Total events, no. (%)407 (46.2)474 (53.8)88176 (85.4)13 (14.6)89
Professional status of attendees, no. events (%)‡¶
 Medical practitioners209 (51.4)314 (66.2)523 (59.4)59 (77.6)10 (76.9)69 (77.5)
 General practitioners124 (30.5)10 (2.1)134 (15.2)35 (46.1)1 (7.7)36 (40.4)
 Fertility specialist doctors/obstetricians and gynaecologists77 (18.9)303 (63.9)380 (43.1)19 (25.0)9 (69.2)28 (31.5)
 Unspecified fertility clinicians222 (54.5)3 (0.6)225 (25.5)0 (0.0)0 (0.0)0 (0.0)
 Nurses279 (68.6)278 (58.6)527 (59.8)34 (44.7)7 (53.8)41 (46.1)
 Fertility nurses196 (48.2)95 (20.0)291 (33.0)10 (13.2)5 (38.5)15 (16.9)
 Scientists165 (40.5)121 (25.5)286 (32.5)0 (0.0)3 (23.1)3 (3.4)
 Embryologists and fertility scientists135 (32.2)70 (14.8)205 (23.3)0 (0.0)2 (15.4)2 (2.2)
Event organiser, no. of events (%)‡
 Fertility clinic249 (61.2)247 (52.1)496 (56.3)52 (68.4)3 (23.1)55 (61.8)
 Professional medical organisation117 (28.7)140 (29.5)256 (29.1)20 (26.3)8 (61.5)28 (31.5)
 Pharmaceutical company¶35 (8.6)3 (0.6)38 (4.3)
 Hospital/health district5 (1.2)32 (6.8)37 (4.2)0 (0.0)2 (15.4)2 (2.3)
 Other/unspecified1 (0.3)53 (11.2)54 (6.1)4 (5.3)0 (0.0)4 (4.5)
Type of event, n (%)†§
 Conference72 (17.7)107 (22.6)181 (20.3)8 (10.5)10 (76.9)18 (20.2)
 Journal club52 (12.8)226 (47.7)278 (31.6)0 (0.0)0 (0.0)0 (0.0)
 Workshop/training programme7 (1.7)17 (3.6)24 (2.7)3 (7.6)2 (7.7)5 (8.9)
 In-service0 (0.0)15 (3.2)15 (1.7)0 (0.0)0 (0.0)0 (0.0)
 Lecture tour4 (1.0)10 (2.1)14 (1.1)0 (0.0)0 (0.0)0 (0.0)
 Educational/clinical meeting, duration <3 hours226 (55.3)85 (17.7)309 (35.1)52 (68.4)1 (7.7)53 (59.5)
 Educational/clinical meeting, duration 3–6 hours30 (7.4)6 (1.3)36 (4.1)6 (7.9)0 (0.0)6 (62.0)
 Educational/clinical meeting, duration >6 hours16 (3.9)8 (1.7)24 (2.7)7 (9.2)0 (0.0)7 (7.9)
  • *Unlike the Educational Events 2011–2015 database, the Educational Events 2015–2018 database does not capture events hosted by the pharmaceutical company or company sponsorship of events where modest food and beverages supplied directly by the company are the only means of their support.

  • †One attendee may have multiple attendances.

  • ‡Percentages are column percentages.

  • §Percentages do not add to 100 because multiple types of professionals could attend an event; some professions not shown.

  • ¶Pharmaceutical industry run events are not captured for the period October 2015–April 2018.

  • MSD, Merck Sharp & Dohme.