Free Admission: Why One Group Dropped Dues for Government Employees
The Parenteral Drug Association now offers free membership for government workers worldwide. The goal: to keep members from industry and regulatory agencies connected, despite tighter government budgets.
Interacting with government regulators is critical for members of the Parenteral Drug Association, a provider of science, technology, and regulatory information and education for the pharmaceutical industry.
To make it easier for government employees to join the individual membership organization, PDA announced last week that is now offering international government regulators free, or greatly reduced, membership fees. For regulators whose agencies require them to pay a fee to join a member organization, PDA reduced its previous $100 rate for government employees to $12.
“Our tagline is ‘Connecting people, science, and regulation,’ so having strong interactions with representatives from governments around the world has always been one of the key activities of our organization,” said Richard Johnson, PDA president and CEO. “Having government employees, and specifically health authority employees, who participate in our association is very valuable—it’s valuable to our other members, and it’s valuable to the development of good scientific practices and guidance.”
About 300 of the association’s 10,000 members are government employees. PDA had not seen a decline in membership numbers among government workers before the fee change, and it wanted to avoid a drop-off in the future, Johnson said.
Some government regulators, based on rules within their organizations, may have difficulty paying for membership, he said. Plus, many government agencies are now watching their costs more.
Since rolling out the new rates last month, response has been positive. More than 100 new government employees have become members.
For other associations considering a similar model, Johnson recommended weighing the importance of the member group’s participation in the organization against the potential lost membership dollars.
“That’s a value equation for the organization: Is it more important to have them participate than whatever revenue they might get from a membership fee?” Johnson said. “For us, it was a no-brainer.”