Based on the recognition that CSR is an integrated part of our business operations, the Otsuka group implements CSR initiatives under its corporate philosophy of “Otsuka-people creating new products for better health worldwide”. Health is a universal desire of all people around the world. The Otsuka group engages in activities on a daily basis to prevent and treat disease and to contribute to the maintenance and improvement of people’s health worldwide. The world we live in still faces a host of medical-related issues, such as the spread of infectious diseases, insufficient medical care facilities, and lack of effective therapeutic drugs. In aiming to solve these problems, we constantly ask ourselves what it is that only we can do. Accordingly, we carry out activities to find solutions for unmet medical needs that most companies have yet to address.
Moreover, owing to skyrocketing medical costs, maintaining and improving health is now an issue that society as a whole, not just individuals, must face head-on. Alongside initiatives that raise awareness of health among individuals, the Otsuka group also contributes to initiatives for maintaining and improving health in society at large through collaboration with local communities.
Challenge of addressing unmet medical needs
①Psychiatry & Neurology
The sharp rise in patients with central nervous system disorders is now a global issue, highlighted by the decision of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to add psychiatric disorders to the big four diseases. However, even though there are many psychiatric and neurological diseases like schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s, they say research and development in this field is challenging because the reasons for their onset are still largely unknown. Furthermore, many are unsatisfied with how these disorders are treated and patients and their families are eager to try new therapeutic drugs. As a key focus area, the Otsuka group is making headway in the field of psychiatric and neurological diseases, namely with the development of REXULTI, an antipsychotic drug, and Selincro, a drug for decreasing the amount of drinking for alcohol-dependent patients. We are also embracing the challenge of developing therapeutic drugs for diseases with no curative medicine so far.
Owing to advancements in medical science, progress is being made year by year on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, but there are still many patients for which effective treatment methods have yet to be found. For this reason, cancer remains one of the biggest causes of death today. The area of oncology with its currently many unmet medical needs is one of the Otsuka group’s focus areas based on our track record of developing anti-cancer agents that can be administered orally, which at the time were not widely available anywhere in the world. We are embracing the challenge of working in gene therapy, cellular therapy, and other new areas of treatment by utilizing the diversity of modalities so we can respond to the shift from conventional treatments based on characteristics common to many patients, to treatment that is more personalized. Up ahead, we will endeavor to engage in research and development in order to provide innovative therapeutic drugs as early as possible.
As one of the three major infectious diseases in the world—the other two being AIDS and malaria—tuberculosis is the single most infectious disease, accounting for the highest number of fatalities. After more than 30 years of research and development, Otsuka Pharmaceutical successfully created DELTYBA, a new anti-tuberculosis agent. Currently we are advancing research and development for expanding the application of this drug to children, which would be a world-first, as well as new pharmaceuticals for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Furthermore, considering the current situation in which new treatment options for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis are urgently needed, in 2016 we entered into a public-private sector agreement with the Global Drug Facility (GDF) of the Stop TB Partnership. We are also pursuing drug approvals in multiple countries, and currently through access programs deployed by government and public international institutions and expanded access by alliance partners, the use of DELTYBA is being promoted in over 90 countries as of September, 2019.
The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) is an international public-private partnership involving the Japanese government and private corporations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Welcome Trust, and the United Nations Development Program specializing in funding research and development of drugs and diagnostic drugs and so on to combat the spread of the big three infectious diseases and neglected tropical diseases mainly in developing countries by leveraging Japan’s high level of technology and innovation. Since June 2016, Otsuka Pharmaceutical has contributed to the GHIT Fund as an associate partner.
Initiatives for supplying pharmaceuticals to even more patients
With the aim of contributing to improved access to pharmaceuticals, the Otsuka group is engaged in research and development of therapeutic drugs and IV solutions to address unmet needs.
We are also undertaking initiatives to provide pharmaceuticals at fair prices and establish healthcare infrastructure.
For example, the local manufacture of IV solutions—defined as a basic pharmaceutical with high clinical necessity whose manufacturing and sales will continue to be required without interruption*—contributes to fair pricing in each country and also creates employment. Even though there are not many Japanese pharmaceutical companies supplying locally manufactured drugs because of the risks and differences in technological know-how, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory is committed to the local manufacture of IV solutions based on its ambition to supply pharmaceuticals at fair prices for each country or region so that any person, rich or poor, can have equal access to healthcare.
* Vision for the Pharmaceutical Industry 2013 (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare)
Initiatives for Yet-To-Be-Imagined Needs
①Community-based health maintenance and promotion initiatives
Given the surging costs of healthcare and Japan’s aging society, the Otsuka group is promoting community-based health maintenance and promotion initiatives, disaster prevention and disaster relief activities. For example, Otsuka Pharmaceutical has carried out various health awareness-raising and educational activities throughout Japan, leveraging its insight and know-how in areas such as nutritional education, prevention of lifestyle diseases, measures for avoiding heat disorders, sports promotion, women’s health, and disaster preparedness. As of September,2019, the company has concluded partnership agreements with all prefectures in Japan.
②Preventing heat disorders
The Otsuka group conducts educational activities for people of all ages, from children to seniors, to raise awareness about the importance of replenishing hydration and electrolytes. For more than 25 years since the 1990s when the term “heat disorders” was still relatively unknown, Otsuka Pharmaceutical has engaged in activities to prevent and treat heat disorders. Company employees visit sites to give seminars on the importance of hydration and electrolyte replenishment based on our research results at our own laboratory and so on, in the area of ion supply drinks. These seminars mainly target athletes, coaches, construction workers, factory workers, people who work under hot conditions, the elderly, and other people at risk of heat disorders. In addition, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory, which sells oral rehydration drinks, supports organizing the activities of the Committee for Awareness of Hidden Dehydration, which works to raise awareness of ways to prevent and treat dehydration before it becomes critical.
As women continue to play more active roles in society, an environment needs to be established in which women can remain active but at the same time engage in child-raising, nursing care, and deal with their own health issues. However, their professional and personal lives are often disrupted by abnormal bodily rhythms and anxieties about their physical condition. In particular, the care they receive during the midlife transitional period, a time of significant physical and mental change, has an impact on women’s healthy life expectancy. The Otsuka group implements initiatives aimed at helping women to lead healthy and active lives, including seminars and the development of products, etc.
Otsuka Health Comic Library
The Otsuka Health Comic Library which helps children to deepen their interest in and understanding of how their bodies work and their health, has been published every year since 1989 and is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019. One volume is published every year. Japan Medical Association and Japanese Society of School Health supervise it, Japan Pediatric Association recommends it, and is donated to approximately 23,000 elementary schools and libraries nationwide. Furthermore, comparative table is made to compare to course of study, so it is used not only as reading material for children but also as a teaching aid for science and health classes. We have held health education workshops for elementary school nurses and other school officials since 2015 to propose heath education using Otsuka Health Comic Library.
Otsuka Health Comic Library
https://www.otsuka.com/jp/comiclibrary/ (In Japanese only)
In light of our obligation as a company that handles items needed during emergencies, such as IV solutions, pharmaceuticals, foods and beverage, we actively engage in disaster relief activities and disaster victim assistance.