Otsuka People Talk

December 2014

Medical Representative (MR)

Discussing symptoms that can't be quantified by tests-the challenge for a CNS MR.

Assistant Section Manager, Pharmaceuticals Division, Tokyo Branch Office. Worked as a medical representative (MR) since joining Otsuka in 2001. Since 2007 he has been in charge of the Tokyo area as a CNS (Central Nervous System) MR, promoting Otsuka Pharmaceutical's CNS products to doctors.

In collaboration with NHK Enterprises, Inc.

Starting with zero knowledge of pharmaceuticals

Since I didn't study pharmaceuticals at school, I knew absolutely nothing to begin with. When I first started work having passed my MR certification exam, I often felt compelled to talk about what I learned through my studies. However, when talking with busy doctors I would just tell them what I knew without ever listening to their wants and needs, which of course would sometimes make them angry.

Simple explanations for busy doctors

Doctors are always busy, so I try to think of ways I can accommodate their wants and needs. I try to be useful when promoting products by using language that is easy to understand, and explain how our products can help in a straightforward manner, describing the sort of patients they are intended for.

I must admit, I wasn't naturally good at conversation, but when I was in school, a lecturer at a prep school broke down a very complex university-entrance exam question in a very easy-to-understand way. That really helped with our comprehension and taught me the importance of making complex matters easy to understand.

I worked part-time at a cram school for children when I was a student and found that using difficult language with primary school children doesn't help with comprehension. Conversely, with high school students, using overly simple primary school language also hampers their comprehension, so I tried to come up with explanations that were most easily understood by each specific student.

Discussing symptoms that can't be quantified by tests
-the challenge for a CNS MR

I'm now working as a CNS MR, which primarily involves the promotion of neuropsychiatric pharmaceuticals to doctors.The patients who need antipsychotic medicine suffer from conditions that can't be quantified, unlike hypertension drugs, for instance. Consequently, discussions with doctors become even more important.

We discuss how Otsuka's products can help patients with specific symptoms. If there are problematic side effects or so on, we give advice on how usage can be altered for better results and elimination of those side effects. When we get feedback on how our advice resulted in a patient recovering sufficiently for work, or how a patient's condition truly improved, we feel that we've done a great job, providing proposals that helped patients reintegrate into society.

A two-wheeled business

Otsuka is unique in that it makes products for the general consumer market as well as pharmaceuticals. And, those two elements of business are equally balanced.* That uniqueness made me choose Otsuka.

I'm now solely involved in pharmaceuticals, but I also talk to my clients about products like POCARI SWEAT. Initially, I had concentrated exclusively on pharmaceuticals, but when training as a leader, I changed my approach after hearing from colleagues involved in the nutraceutical business how products such as POCARI SWEAT are actually based on our pharmaceutical knowhow. Conversely, from the NC side, the fact that Otsuka produces pharmaceuticals makes it possible to earn trust of customers such as supermarkets. Only Otsuka is involved in this kind of dual-tiered business. I think that through the development and promotion of both elements our company will continue to reach more people.

  • *FY2013 Otsuka Pharmaceutical net sales (Pharmaceutical 81%, NC19%)