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Otsuka Pharmaceutical continues to increase its visibility on the global health policy stage, and recently sponsored the Healthcare in Asia 2013 conference.
It was hosted by the Economist Conferences, publisher of the esteemed magazine The Economist. The event was held on March 21st and March 22nd in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and featured a variety of speakers including the Minister of Health in Malaysia, the Secretary of Finance in the Philippines, the Deputy Minister of Health in Taiwan, numerous other senior officials from national governments and international agencies such as the World Health Organization and numerous senior figures from academia and the business world.
Although tuberculosis was not the central theme of the conference, one speaker, Dr. Arata Kochi, a former senior official at the WHO was in charge of anti-TB programs, spoke about the steadily worsening problem of multi-drug resistant TB.
Dr. Kochi noted that private healthcare sectors in Asian countries are not equipped to deal with long-term care in a cost-effective manner. Dr. Kochi noted that TB patients who are not tracked carefully, stop taking medication as soon as they feel better, which increases the spread of resistant TB strains. He explained that a well-funded anti-TB program with treatment follow-up and data collection and analysis could serve as an excellent model for diseases such as diabetes and cancer, diseases that are also increasing across Asia as people live longer.
As a sponsor, Otsuka had a booth that highlighted facts about multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and the company's long-standing commitment to TB research. Visitors to the booth were sometimes surprised to learn from Otsuka Public Relations staff that the company was the world's lead investor in TB drug development in 2011 (the last year for which data is available).