The Otsuka group believes that it has a responsibility to deliver higher-value products and services to customers. To do so, we will engage in suitable promotion and advertising activities that comply with laws and regulations, and communicate with customers in an appropriate manner.
The Otsuka group has expanded on the JPMA Promotion Code for Prescription Drugs—a code of behavior for healthcare professionals issued by the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (JPMA)—to formulate its own Code of Practice covering each group company in an effort to engage in appropriate collaboration based on relationships of trust with all stakeholders, including medical practitioners.
Given that society demands transparency in relationships between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare organizations, we are striving to ensure code adherence in order to fulfill our duty as a pharmaceutical company and ensure the practice of ethical, patient-oriented medical care.
With regard to pharmaceuticals and clinical trial methodologies, medical representatives (MRs) play a role in providing information to and collecting information from physicians and other medical personnel. The Otsuka group sees the development of MRs as important to achieving its corporate philosophy. Accordingly, we actively provide training on ethics, which is the most important consideration for MRs, as well as on the specialized skills needed in each company and each field.
For example, in addition to conventional group training and self-study, Otsuka Pharmaceutical holds workshops that deal with cases of violations of the system for monitoring prescription drug advertising. Such cases, which have been reported by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, require participants to discuss proper drug detailing activities. These workshops are an opportunity for MRs to think about these issues in the context of their own work.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory, a leading company in IV solutions, has developed a large number of MRs with wide knowledge of IV solutions and nutrition. As part of efforts to maintain high quality and promote stable supply as a basic drug manufacturer, the company works to provide accurate, up-to-date information to healthcare professionals. At the Intravenous Drug Information Center on the company's premises there is a mock medical facility where training is conducted on such topics as IV solution preparation work using actual IV solutions. This ability to experience the actual procedures used by healthcare professionals helps all employees to increase their understanding.
Taiho Pharmaceutical, a pioneer in oral anti-cancer agent, operates a unique in-house MR certification system focused on cancer. With training designed not only to help MRs gain expertise in disease-related topics, but also to improve their communication skills, the company is able to develop MRs who can earn a high level of trust in medical settings.
Approach in the Nutraceutical and Consumer Products Businesses
The Nutraceutical Business contributes to solutions for social issues by providing creative products directed at maintaining and improving people's health while offering useful health information. Otsuka Pharmaceutical has established the Scientific Affairs Department to gather and disseminate information about products, related knowledge and the latest academic information in order to provide appropriate information to consumers. To develop personnel who can help resolve social issues, we hold monthly training programs in three formats: group seminars, e-learning and satellite broadcasting.
In a similar fashion to the Pharmaceutical Business, we have established a dedicated unit comprising multiple departments to review marketing plans and sales promotion materials for nutraceutical and consumer products. This ensures that our marketing and sales promotion activities are appropriate and comply with laws and regulations.
Engagement with Communities as a Total Healthcare Company
The Nutraceutical Business Division of Otsuka Pharmaceutical is using the knowledge gained from its product research and development and its health awareness programs to cooperate with local governments throughout Japan on health-related community issues such as heat disorder prevention, dietary education, sports promotion, women's health, and disaster prevention and relief. In 2019, Otsuka Pharmaceutical signed partnership agreements with all 47 prefectures in Japan. Under the agreements, the company is extending its programs to municipalities, and is conducting activities with a focus on contributing to public health in local communities.
The Pharmaceutical Business Division also began a new initiative to apply its knowledge in the healthcare field to help solve health-related issues facing local communities. In addition to supporting the provision of product and health information, which had previously been the responsibility of the Nutraceutical Business Division, the department is cooperating with local governments in areas such as care for mental health, an emerging issue in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory is using its expertise in IV solutions and clinical nutrition products in cooperating with local governments through the provision of detailed information ranging from illness prevention to home healthcare and nursing care. In September 2020, the company concluded a cooperative agreement on preventive care with Ono City, Hyogo Prefecture. It also concluded a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Imizu City, Toyama Prefecture in October 2020.
Taiho Pharmaceutical is engaged in activities centered on cooperation with municipalities where it has R&D sites. For example, it has signed an agreement with Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture to participate in environmental initiatives, as well as support for developing countries and other programs as a member of Tsukuba SDGs Partners. In March 2021, Taiho Pharmaceutical also concluded an agreement with Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture, for the use of its facilities as an evacuation center and a base for recovery activities in the event of a disaster.
Reducing Food Loss
The Otsuka group aims to raise production efficiency through measures including improving production technology, flexibly handling production volume, efficiently using raw materials, and ensuring safety and stability, thereby reducing the occurrence of food loss. For example, Otsuka Pharmaceutical is switching to month-based expiration dates and extending the shelf life for about 90 items. In addition, Otsuka Warehouse is working to minimize disposal by introducing a system for group employees to purchase products that would have been disposed of because they are nearing their expiration date, have some packaging damage or for other reasons.
Extending Shelf Life and Switching to Month-Based Expiration Dates
The expiration date is the date until which a product can be enjoyed with no change in quality if the container or bag is stored unopened in the way prescribed. Otsuka Pharmaceutical seeks to reduce food loss by extending shelf life and switching to labels that indicate the expiration date by month rather than day. Month-based expiration dates are meant to signify quality until the last day of the month indicated, enabling shelf lives of up to one month longer.
Reference: Example of an expiration date printed for a product manufactured on October 10, 2020