Life science companies use rate cards to internally distribute approved payments for thought leader (TL) engagements such as advisory boards or speaking events. Factors associated with these engagements can vary, so most rate cards are designed to handle different scenarios. A wide range of rates to choose from can help in many cases but other features also contribute to an effective card.

Cutting Edge Information analyzed rate cards from a selection of large and small pharma companies and found that a handful of features are common among them. For instance, TLs often have to travel to reach company-sponsored events, so instructions on travel compensation appear on many cards. Payment for distance travelled is often tied to a base hourly rate.

Directions and definitions of tiers don’t always cover every TL contracted for an event though. To account for this, some rate cards include processes for dealing with exceptions to pre-approved rates. These processes primarily involve instructions on documenting and submitting an exception.

Instructions on travel, tiering and exceptions processes are not the only features that can improve rate card utility. While other add-ons show up in many cards, the examples given above illustrate that these field force tools are more than just a document with a range of payments.

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