Otsuka People Talk

Pharmaceutical Marketing

Joined Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. in 2002. Worked as a medical representative before shifting to marketing. Currently oversees marketing for a drug to treat Parkinson’s disease—a subject that occupies his thoughts every day.

May 2015

As Fate Would Have It

I majored in pharmaceutical studies at university. Until the winter of my first year of graduate studies, I thought about a career as a hospital pharmacist, but when I thought about my future, I started to think that it might be more enjoyable to work at a company rather than as a hospital pharmacist. At that point, it was already past the usual recruitment window for companies hiring out of university. As fate would have it, Otsuka Pharmaceutical was going through a second phase of hiring and they hired me.

Driven to Know Everything about Parkinson’s Disease

I have been working at Otsuka Pharmaceutical for 13 years, spending more than half that time in marketing. I currently oversee a drug to treat Parkinson's disease. I am driven to know everything about Parkinson's disease.

I was put in charge of the product about a year-and-a-half before its launch in Japan. At the time, it had already been approved and marketed in Europe by our partner company which created it. It is a transdermal patch, but in Europe, the oral version of the drug was most commonly used. We investigated the reasons for this and found that physicians there were not fully aware of the advantages of transdermal patches. So we ended up developing an original marketing strategy for Japan.

Marketing Concept Developed after Interviewing Over
100 Patients

Working with our president at the time, we took a fresh look at the Japanese market to find out where our product was truly needed. We asked patients and their families directly rather than doctors, to find out what their needs are. We listened attentively to over 100 patients in order to thoroughly understand the challenges that they face.

There was heated discussion over the original marketing concept that we developed for Japan, when we presented it to our partner company. We launched the transdermal patch two years ago in Japan, and it is now the most successful market for the drug of any market worldwide. Our marketing concept is being adapted to introduce the drug in other countries, becoming a global concept. It is great hearing about these plans from our partner company. It took a combined effort to develop this concept, and the cooperation of many people driven by a strong conviction to make our original concept a success.

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