9 Things to Consider Before Distributing Posters at Conferences

Bookmark this page. Physicians Sunshine Act exempts patient-education materials like anatomy posters and models.

It’s Conference Season

Are you ready for the main event? Adrenaline runs high as you prepare for trade shows, fairs, conventions and conferences. Will you be an attendee, a presenter, a sponsor or exhibitor? Attendees expect to be wowed. Presenters and exhibitors, hoping for their 15 minutes of fame, are challenged to be the catalysts for wowing.

Medical and scientific conferences can be some of the most stressful events. Amid all the technical presenta­tions and thousands of people, how do you become memor­able? Don’t hold your breath waiting for calls to pour in from attendees going home with a two-inch stack of business cards.

Exhibitors and sponsors often distribute novel promotional gifts for distinction. A favorite, particularly in the pharmaceutical and device manufacturing industries, is a customized promotional anatomy poster with logo imprint. Compared to an advertisement within the event’s program schedule, anatomy posters are more enduring and useful.

Custom Anatomy Poster Options

Anatomy Poster Titles Inches Translate Reformat
Imprint 3–9 14 20x26 No No
Imprint 10–50 14 20x26 No No
Customize 200–750 40 18x24 Yes Yes
Imprint 1000+ 120 20x26* Yes No
Standard Design 20x26* Yes Yes
Deluxe Design 20x26* Yes Yes

* Custom sizes available. Unique title per order. Number of available titles vary due to discontinuations.

Does Sunshine Act Apply to Anatomy Posters?

Some companies hesitate to offer gifts because of the physicians Sunshine Act. United States laws require individual gifts to doctors reaching a value of $10 or cumulative annual gifts of $100 or more to be reported to a national CMS database. In general, the Sunshine Act requires applicable manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals, or medical supplies to report annually to the Secretary of HHS certain payments or other transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals.

Though Sunshine Act reporting does not signify anything wrong has taken place, it requires significant record keeping before handing over anything of value. The purpose is to prevent prescribed treatment from appearing influenced by commercial gain rather than patient needs. Hence, many doctors refrain from accepting anything that may be construed as monetary persuasion.

Exhibit 1: Physicians Sunshine Act Exclusions

Physicians Sunshine Act Exclusions

How to Promote Your Brand With Anatomy Posters

The good news is that the physicians Sunshine Act exempts patient-education materials like anatomy posters and models. A poster hung in an exam room or classroom for patient eduction is generally not viewed as a personal gift to the physician. (Exhibit 1) Hanging the poster in a private doctor’s office or home is considered a personal gift. Imprinting the poster with the phrase, "Provided for patient education" beneath your logo may clarify the intent of promotional materials. Verify with corporate legal counsel on the guidance provided below.

Educational Materials that Directly Benefit Patients or are Intended For Patient Use: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognize that “patient education is important and recognize that it may take a form other than written material, especially in the device context.” For example, a device manufacturer may give a physician an anatomical model to help demonstrate to patients how a procedure works. CMS agrees that “such an item, which is given to physicians for the purpose of educating patients, falls within the exclusion.”

Items “such as medical textbooks and journal reprints … do not … fall within the statutory exclusion” because “they are not directly beneficial to patients, nor are they intended for patient use.” So the end use affects Sunshine Act exclusion.

Consider 9 Things Before Distributing Posters at Conferences

Many exhibitors erroneously assume they can request artwork on existing posters and prepare posters themselves. This generally runs contrary to licensing and copyright laws. The following information is helpful when you are ready to move forward with obtaining promotional anatomy posters.

1.  Choose a conference with optimum visibility. International conferences are held all year long. Attendees seek to discover and share the latest advancements in everything from dermatological skin care to cures for cancer. The reference section of this article includes links to many upcoming conferences.

2.  Select a poster physicians are not likely to already have. Most neurologists have The Nervous System poster. Many gastroenter­ologists have the Diseases of the Digestive System poster. If you offer a poster attendees already own, are they likely to hang it just because it has your logo on it? Does your product apply to everything on the existing poster or, more likely, a subset of it?

3.  Consider a custom-design poster if appropriate. ClinicalPosters can design a unique poster specially for you. Alternatively, by having non-essential elements removed from an existing poster, you can save money for low volumes. Rearranging and enlarging key details results in a novel promotion for attendees. ClinicalPosters provides custom layouts for over forty 18x24 inch posters.

4.  Is content translation required? Most anatomy posters have English text. If the trade show or convention is held in the United States this could be fine. But consider the language of most attendees and their patients. As a customer, rather than a content creator, you will not have access to the digital artwork. ClinicalPosters uses certified medical translators for specially formatted 18x24 inch posters. Based upon word count and language complexity, on average, translation can add between $250 to $1000 to poster cost.

5.  Give yourself adequate time. Allow time for translation and shipping. With a simple logo imprint, instant approval of the proof, a clear print production schedule and local express delivery, four-week turnaround is theoretically possible. Six to eight weeks conveys more realistic planning. Try not to consume weeks getting the budget approved or signing off on proofs. Rush charges can add multiples (50–100%) to price quotations.

6.  A detailed pamphlet should be attached to pharmaceutical company branded posters. You can tape the contra­indica­tions pamphlet that accompanies prescriptions to the back of printed posters before distribution. Otherwise, it must be printed on the back of the posters.

7.  Prevent poster damage while attendees carry them. Large posters do not fit in most conven­tion tote bags without folding them. If attendees roll posters up and carry them beneath their arms or in backpacks, they will be crushed. What percentage of attendees will hang folded, dog-eared posters in their exam rooms or classrooms? Providing a tube increases the likelihood of posters actually being used at their intended locations. Flat foldable tubes are easier to store than cylindrical tubes. Don’t forget colorful label on tubes for on-site exposure. Alternatively, you can obtain contact info to mail promotional gifts.

8.  Pick adequate quantity. A small percentage of attendees will visit your booth to accept your gift. Much depends on exhibit visibility, presenter tenaciousness, and usefulness of the promotional item. Four percent of conference attendees is a general estimation unless you are handing them out to everyone as they walk in the door.

9.  Decide whether to have posters shipped to the conference, hotel or main office. Having anatomy posters delivered to your main office eliminates surprises and allows some to be removed and stored for future use. You incur an additional shipping charge to transport them to the final event location unless you mail them to attendees.

Having posters and containers delivered at the hotel to your attention as “guest” a few days before the main event provides a short buffer to confirm everything. But it requires bulky materials to be transported to the event site. Experienced exhibitors prefer to personally lug key presentation material. Tubes and props are usually tracked with reliable carriers.

In some cases exhibitor materials can be shipped directly to the convention site. Unless this is well organized, there is a chance that the package may be delayed. This is disappointing even if insured. On the subject of shipping, decide whether remaining posters and tubes will be shipped back to your office for future use or recycled by event maintenance personnel.

Scaling Down Volume

Instead of a conference, your main event might be the opening of a new medical practice location. To emphasize your corporate identity, there may be desire to have your logo imprinted on a few anatomy posters. ClinicalPosters has options for this that are limited to specific posters with adequate imprint area.

To recap, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers and medical groups can imprint a logo on 14 different 20x26 inch preprinted anatomy posters in quantities from 3 to 50. Economically imprint logo on one of over 40 different 18x24 inch posters with layout adjustments and translation available in quantities from 200 to 750. The widest selection of over 100 poster titles can receive a logo imprint at the standard 20x26 size or scaling to a custom size with translation available in a minimum quantity of 1000.

ClinicalPosters has been preparing and selling posters for medical conferences since 1995. Together, we can begin planning your next successful event today!

References
  1. Physician Payment Sunshine Act Final Rule: Reporting Requirements. policymed.com
  2. International Scientific Conferences. www.omicsonline.org
  3. American Academy of Dermatology. aad.org
  4. American Urological Association. auanet.org
  5. ClinicalPosters FAQ – Copyright. ClinicalPosters.com
  6. ISO Certified Medical Translation. net-translators.com
  7. Shipping Supply – Mailing Tubes. www.shippingsupply.com

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