“It needs to be a lunchtime meeting,” Gamela Nuryandi said. “You don’t want to be in that part of town after sunset.”
Malisma Collins, Vice President of Marketing, looked at the proposed invitation and asked, “Then why would anyone want to show up at all?”
“Think about it this way,” Gamela said as she spread her hands wide. “We can spend big bucks on dinner at a restaurant fancy enough to lure physicians from their busy lives. They won’t bother attending if you rent a room at a Boston Market. They will insist on the best restaurants with at least a Zagat rating so they can order bottles of Opus One – on our tab.”
Malisma shook her head. “Yes, but I see some of those states are rethinking their strict gift ban from pharmaceutical companies. It seems their restaurant associations are complaining about the loss of business.” 
“That’s nice, but we also need to consider our own budget,” Gamela said. “We need the same boost in prescriptions, so let’s try this avenue in my sales territory. Inviting patients to lunch is much cheaper than hosting physicians for dinner. The majority of patients won’t expect the same five-star meal as an MD. Plenty of them will flock to, yes, even to a Boston Market for a free meal. We save big-time with no alcohol on the bill and we might have a bigger effect in driving prescriptions.”
Malisma looked unimpressed. “But for every doctor we could invite, how many patients will we need there? How do we know they are really patients?”
“Many of these diseases have their own communities. We can reach out through the advocacy groups to the patients and to caregivers. Multiple sclerosis, for example. There’s a National MS Society with online social networking. Several of our other drugs have the same potential relation to patients. These are savvy people who know how to advocate for their own health, and they can act as our pharma reps to guide prescriptions.”
“Would we still need a key opinion leader to give a talk?” Malisma leaned back in her chair.
“Certainly. These are savvy patients, remember. They know the medical issues and they recognize names of our KOLs. These patients are motivated enough to take time out for lunch in the middle of a day, too.” Gamela smiled sweetly.
Malisma leaned forward in her chair and drummed her delicately painted fingernails on her desk. “And you’re sure Newark, New Jersey, is a good place to host these luncheons?”
Gamela’s smile faded. “Well…there are worse places in the world.”
Malisma frowned. “Somalia or downtown Detroit, maybe. Do we have a stock of Kevlar body armor?”
“Ha ha. Remember it’s a free lunch, not a top-notch banquet. We even have a limo service with bullet-proof windows that will guarantee safe delivery of our KOL speakers. And remember, we aren’t the first to try sponsoring a free meal direct to patients.  We don’t want to be left behind on this.”
Rupert knocked and asked, “Did anyone here order three crates of White Castle burgers?”