Otsuka Podcast

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Welcome to Otsuka Podcast, featuring stories of change from Otsuka Pharmaceutical's global team.

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Dec 8, 2013

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It was a perfect end to a J1 League qualifying final show down! With no question on who the winner was. Tokushima Vortis made history by becoming the first team ever to ascend to J1 (the top J. League) out from Shikoku, after beating Kyoto Sanga F.C. 2 – 0.

It was a long 2013 J2 year for Vortis, ranking fourth in J2 when they played against JEF UNITED CHIBA in the semi-finals. They tied. But since the opposing team was ranked 5th, Vortis automatically got to move onto the play-offs against Kyoto Sanga F.C., who was one place ahead of Vortis in J2 League.

Vortis did not disappoint. It did even better than anyone had expected. First goal delivered by Mitsuru Chiyotanda after 39 minutes of the first half.

The crowds roared with the lead-in goal as Kyoto Sanga F.C. kept a strong offense pushing forward trying to get itself back in the game, but Tokushima did not weaken its defense. And it wasn’t long before Tokushima doubled its lead with powerful shot from Vortis. This time, Tomohiro Tsuda helped seal the victory two minutes before the first half ended.

The result knocked the Kyoto members out of J1 League and the dream of entering J1 League for Vortis was finally granted as the second half of the game ended without any goals from both sides.

History was made on Sunday, not just for Shikoku successfully sending its first team to J1 League, but it was also the last J. League game played at the National Stadium before it will be rebuilt for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Tokushima Vortis is a soccer club in Japan’s professional league, J. League. The club, which emerged from a soccer club at Otsuka, was established in 2004 in cooperation with Tokushima city and prefectural authorities, aiming to bring new vibrancy to the region. It has been playing in the J2 league since 2005.

The club is actively involved in community contribution activities in cooperation with the Prefectural Board of Education, including helping to create the J. League’s first supplementary reader for a physical fitness textbook and a food education program.

Dec 3, 2013

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Chiaki Sakurai, Senior Operating Officer (SOO), Head of Cosmedics Department Was Invited as a Panelist

On the day of the discussion, December 3, 2013, there were helicopters flying in the blue skies over the Hikarie building in front of Shibuya Station. When I arrived at DeNA headquarters, the site of the discussion, I was greeted by police dogs, and was ushered into the waiting room after passing through a rigorous security check. The other panelists were industrialists and entrepreneurs, including Tomoko Namba, the founder of DeNA, the company hosting the discussion, and Calbee CEO Akira Takahashi. My role at the discussion was not to present myself as a female entrepreneur, but to show how an ordinary female employee can transform her career inside a large organization. I particularly wanted to show how the company had given someone like me, by no means a stereotypically driven career woman, such an opportunity, and also that diversity is about understanding and accepting the uniqueness of all individuals in an organization – in other words, that embracing diversity does not mean providing women with preferential treatment.

I only learned about one week in advance of my invitation to attend a panel discussion on “Women and the Economy” (the third arrow of “Abenomics”) that was to be held during US Vice-President Joseph Biden’s visit to Japan. It was a great honor for Otsuka Pharmaceutical to be selected as one of only six Japanese companies invited to send a representative to the panel discussion and, although I was pleased to have Otsuka’s long-standing support of diversity recognized, the news that I was being asked to personally attend came as a bit of a shock.

Understanding the Importance of Perseverance

I was starting to feel as if I were in over my head, and was getting cold feet, but there was nowhere to go, and the time for the panel discussion had arrived. Surrounded by tough-looking security police, Vice-President Biden, US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell arrived. I had no time to collect myself before the discussion started. Ambassador-at-Large Russell introduced the participants one at a time, and each shared various anecdotes or talked about their entrepreneurial experiences. I was the fifth person introduced, and when I finished as scheduled, I took a Pocari drink from my bag and took a sip, trying to look natural. I was conscious of the media, and had the presence of mind to hold the drink with the label showing.

At a discussion that is only an hour long, it is hard to make an impression, but I had a secret plan. What I can be seen holding in my hand in the two pictures of me with Ambassador Kennedy is a DVD copy of the 1988 movie “Working Girl,” a romantic comedy that tells the story of a working-class woman with no connections or elite educational background who rises from secretary to company executive solely on the strength of her courage and ideas. It is a very American movie, and one of my favorites. Although my personality is quite unlike that of the protagonist, I, like her, had no connections or elite academic background, but I persevered and, in the end, that is what allowed me to succeed.

After the discussion was over, Ambassador Kennedy came directly over to me and said, “The person who wrote that movie is a good friend of mine. Can I take a picture? It would make him happy.” Then she pulled out her own cell phone and held it out to take a picture of the two of us. As a present, I gave her an InnerSignal sample, which she showed great interest in, and slipped into her bag.

I am not used to acting as some sort of bridge between Japan and America, or to being presented as a trailblazer for the promotion of women in the workplace, but I was happy to have been able to use this opportunity to provide an example of Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s commitment to diversity. More than anything, I wanted to convey the message that it is important to persevere.

Dec 3, 2013

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Otsuka Pakistan Ltd. held a ceremony in Islamabad on December 3rd to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Otsuka Welfare Clinic (OWC), which was founded in Peshawar, Pakistan in order to provide health care to Afghan refugees. About 100 guests, including the Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, attended the ceremony.

When the conflict in Afghanistan sent over a million refugees over the Pakistan border a decade earlier, many companies donated money for their care in Peshawar. But more often than not, those aids did not reach the hands of the needy. Chairman Akihiko Otsuka asked himself what can be done to directly assist the refugees, who were mainly women and children. Mr. Otsuka decided to build a clinic in Peshawar offering free medical care for those who left everything behind when they fled Afghanistan.

Ms. Naveeda Khanum one of the attendees at the 10th Anniversary Celebration event has been with OWC for ten years as a pharmacist. She said, “Otsuka Welfare Clinic is providing the refugees the best services available as they are not getting these types of services anywhere else in Peshawar, in Pakistan.”

On the first day Otsuka Welfare Clinic opened, only 7 patients visited the clinic. Through repeated visits by clinical staff to each refugee camp to build trust with the locals and publicize the clinic’s activities, the clinic has grown to the point where it is now seeing about 150 patients every day. In the 10 years since the clinic opened, it has treated more than 700,000 people in all.

Because many of the patients are female, there are female doctors in residence at the clinic as well. When treating Afghan refugees, language is critical for mutual understanding, and the clinic needs to have doctors than can speak not only Urdu, the language spoken in Pakistan, but also Pashto and Dari, the languages spoken in Afghanistan . The female physicians that work at the clinic can speak all of these languages. Today there are still 1~1.2 million refugees living in Pakistan. The refugees still do not have access to appropriate medical care.

When the clinic was opened, it was initially expected that it cease operations after about 5 years. However, because of the conditions in the area, the clinic has continued its activities for 10 years. Given that corporate support for refugees normally ends after a short time, Otsuka Welfare Clinic which has continued to directly support refugees for a long period of time providing not only treatment, but also drugs, free of charge has a good reputation among the local community.

Under Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s corporate motto of “Otsuka – people creating new products for better health worldwide”, Otsuka will continue to develop businesses that make it its mission to support the health of people everywhere in the world, and will continue pursuing the vision of improving health and contributing to local societies as a health care company.

His Excellency Mr. Hiroshi Inomata in his speech as Chief Guest applauded all those who are working at Otsuka Welfare Clinic as well as those who are supporting their cause and praised them highly. He also appreciated the role of Otsuka Pakistan in continuous running of this clinic for patients coming from Afghan refugees and local residents.

Nov 6, 2013

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International and Local Senior Otsuka Female Executives Speak at Diversity Forum

Over two decades ago, Otsuka Chairman Akihiko Otsuka implemented trainings to help promote female executives. Because of that vision, Otsuka Pharmaceutical now has 45 women whose positions are higher than division chiefs and five who are operating officers.

At this year’s Otsuka Diversity Forum held at Awaji Yumebutai International Conference Center (Hyogo Pref.), senior Otsuka female executives were invited to speak to 130 young and budding employees with diverse backgrounds about their own trials and tribulations and how they overcame their obstacles.

One faced cancer head on and with the support of her family and her determination, she overcame cancer, received her Ph.D. and is now the Director of Global Clinical Development; another moved to a foreign country in the middle of her Ph.D. program to lead a region with the lowest performance. But with passion, prioritization and sheer perseverance she succeeded in leading her region to becoming number one after three years and also finished her Ph.D.

An HR executive knew from when she was in college that she wanted to continue working as a researcher. She was able to do so because her mother and mother-in-law wanted her to succeed because they had wanted their own identity outside of the house. And one in middle management said she faced obstacles that once had overwhelmed her as a Medical Representative. She was asked to be responsible for a University Hospital with 500 physicians across 40 divisions. But with her husband’s support and her determination in breaking the barriers, she persevered by doing things no one else has done before therefore successfully managing her beat.

The goal for such a forum is to expose employees to other women’s plights in trying to get ahead and learn from their experiences as women executives in a male dominated field.

In his opening speech at the forum, Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s President, Representative Director, Taro Iwamoto, Ph.D., said, “As president, what I have aimed at for the past five years to promote what we call “creativity from this corner to that corner,” and not to copy other pharmaceutical companies.

The most important part of this concept is to employ people who continually innovate. Our company employs competitive staff in Asia and in the West for our overseas operations. There are much less gender barriers and our key elements of evaluation is innovation.” Dr. Iwamoto stated that the company goal is to increase the ratio of female executives to 50% by 2020.

Young male leaders were also invited to take part in the panel discussion. They shared what they are looking for in their team members but the consensus was that it’s not the gender that matters, but their staff’s passion and determination in succeeding in creating new products.

Chieko Asakawa, IBM Fellow, was the Guest Speaker: Innovation Through Diversity

IBM Fellow Chieko Asakawa shared her journey of ups and downs to the audience.

Ms. Asakawa’s original dream was to become an Olympian as she was an active athlete in her school. But when she lost her vision in an accident in her junior high years, it didn’t derail her from living her life to its full potential and beyond. She loved outdoor activities and wanted to continue to do track, roller skate and scuba dive. That’s when she realized accessibility is needed for innovation that would allow her to keep her freedom. That began her accessibility research and development for the past two decades.

She said she may have lost her vision, but her hearing senses became more heightened allowing her to listen to spoken words that are three times faster than normal. She used her disadvantages to her advantage and pushed for technologies that would assist heightening other senses that may have been lost to some.

As for family life, Ms. Asakawa said when her two daughters were younger, they wanted their mother to be home more but that they now appreciate how much their mother has done to move forward the technology for the disabled. She said she still has lots of dreams to fulfill, like traveling to Africa and even learn about food and wine. To her, a disability does not mean an obstacle, but a spring board to something greater.

Nov 1, 2013

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Otsuka made its first international expansion in 1973, establishing Thai Otsuka Pharmaceutical (TOP). During that era, most Japanese pharmaceutical companies were focused on drug development in Western countries. However, Otsuka looked to its neighbors in the east and in 1981 became the first Japanese pharmaceutical company to establish a joint venture in China, China Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Later, Otsuka headed westward to Europe and the US, offering its highly original products in the areas of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, nutraceuticals and cosmedics.

Today, Otsuka Pharmaceutical has over 20 affiliated research institutes and 139 production sites around the world. Otsuka employees are encouraged to take on creative challenges wherever they work, whether researching and developing products that promote health or supplying local markets.

Our pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products are sold in over 80 countries. For example, our central nervous system drug ABILIFY offers patients an excellent efficacy and side effect profile in disorders including schizophrenia and depression. ABILIFY is sold in 60 countries, is the seventh ranked prescription drug in global sales*1 and the number one ranked prescription drug in the United States.*2 Otsuka’s iconic beverage POCARI SWEAT, which replenishes critical electrolytes lost when sweating, is sold in 17 countries and regions and sales outside of Japan exceed domestic sales.

Overall, as the average Japanese pharmaceutical companies generate 35% of revenues internationally, Otsuka Pharmaceutical and its affiliates generate 62% and will continue to expand.

And on November 1st, 2013 Thai Otsuka Pharmaceutical (TOP) celebrated its 40th year of operation in a gala ceremony held at the Plaza Athenee Bangkok. The event brought together 220 of the company’s key stakeholders, local dignitaries and high-profile Otsuka delegates, while serving as an opportunity to renew its commitment as a leading pharmaceutical brand in Thailand.

The list of attendees included Japanese Ambassador to Thailand Shigekazu Sato; CEO Boonsithi Chokwatana from SAHA group; OPF Representative Director Tetsuji Iwamoto; OIAA’s Senior Operating Officer Eom Dae-sik and a number of previous TOP presidents.

Mr. Thanan Suntayodom, chairman, conveyed his overwhelming pride in having worked as a member of Thai Otsuka over the past 40 years and shared with the audience how Otsuka began its first step to overseas expansion.

“In 1965, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Japan had appointed Mr. Sakakibara (from the foreign trade department) to be the representative to bring I.V. solution products and find a distributing agency in Thai market and that was when he met my father, Charoen Suntayodom. Right after that, Charoen Bhaesaj Group started to import products from Otsuka. The product was well accepted by our customers for its high quality and for its good treatment.

As the sales volume grew rapidly, my father and Mr. Suwan Sirivikul flew and met Mr. Masahito Otsuka in 1971 to explain it was necessary to have a factory in the Thai market. After it was approved, a factory was established in Samut Sakorn province (about 50km from Bangkok) in 1973.”

In his congratulatory remarks, Japan Ambassador Sato expressed his sincere gratitude toward Thai Otsuka’s community service during Thailand’s worst flooding in 2011. Also, TOP President Motoyuki Sakiyama expressed his heart-felt gratitude toward its local employees, past and present, “We will become the best partner for our patients and clients in Thailand for another 40 prosperous years. Thai Otsuka is built upon Otsuka’s corporate philosophy which values innovative ideas, firm commitment to implementation as well as harmony with local culture.”

Oct 30, 2013

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IDTAB technology that makes possible for the first time in the world to print directly onto OD tablets wins award

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. received the 2013 Good Design Award on October 30th, 2013 for the antiplatelet drug “Pletaal® OD Tablets 50 mg/100 mg” (nonproprietary name: cilostazol). Otsuka received the Good Design Award 2013 for making it possible to print directly onto OD tablets using this IDTAB technology. Pletaal Tablets were also included in the Good Design Best 100 list.

The idea to find a way to print the name and dosage of the medication onto an orodispersable (OD) tablet (or orally disintegrating tablet) came to Yoshio Hara when he nearly gave his son, the wrong amount of medication for his asthma. Mr. Hara said most tablets are white and round and very generic looking, and can be mistaken easily. That was his Ah Ha! Moment and realized that there are many people who may have nearly made or actually made the mistake of taking the wrong dosage, or given the wrong dosage of drugs to those they are caring for.

So the journey to creating what is now known as IDTAB technology began. Mr. Hara and his team first started enquiring tablet printing makers at the end of 2009. Being able to print the product name directly onto conventional OD tablets, which are soft and dissolve easily, is complicated and has up until now been impossible, but the team saw the need and pushed forward.

97.4% of pharmacists nationwide admit having given the wrong dosage to their patients

Before the technology was perfected and made available to the market, one person was reported to have died from taking the wrong dosage in the spring of 2010. Nikkei Drug Information released a study in June 2011 that showed 97.4% of pharmacists nationwide admit having given the wrong dosage to their patients. They all agreed that clearly printed tablets will be extremely helpful when dispersing drugs. All the more making the team more determined to see this technology succeed.

The advantage of being able to print the product name directly on the tablet is that it allows both medical professionals and patients themselves to easily identify what drug each individual tablet contains by product name, preventing prescribing and dosing errors. Because antiplatelet drugs in particular are high-risk drugs that inhibit clotting, their use needs to be discontinued before surgery, and having the product name printed on the tablets themselves makes it much easier for medical professionals and patients to identify the drug.

It is our dream to see this technology spread around the world to ensure safety when distributing medications to patients or loved ones; or when patients are taking the medicines themselves.

Oct 25, 2013

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15 Years of Reproducing Masterpieces From Around the World That Would Last for 2000 Years

The Otsuka Museum of Art (OMA) was established in 1998 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Otsuka Group. Otsuka Pharmaceutical then Chairman Masahito Otsuka had a precise vision for this museum to be built in Tokushima, where the Otsuka Group was founded.

Rendered with Otsuka’s original technology developed by Otsuka Ohmi Ceramics Co., Ltd., more than 1,000 pieces of art are now reproduced in original size, and their colors, which will virtually never fade, faithfully convey the artistic essence of the original works.

One of the most popular exhibits at the Otsuka Museum of Art is the Sistine Hall, which holds a full-scale reproduction of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Five years ago, the Otsuka Museum of Art resolved to reproduce this curved ceiling for the 10th anniversary of the museum’s opening. A method was developed in which curved ceramic panels are produced using firing platforms that are made based on wooden molds. It is exceedingly difficult to produce curved ceramic boards without breaking them, the same principle as that used to produce curved glass was employed, and was finally achieved following much trial and error.

2013 marks the 500th anniversary of the completion of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Starting September, the Otsuka Museum of Art will be hosting “Divine Michelangelo” festivities.

The museum displays a collection of ceramic-board reproductions of art masterpieces from around the world, with the ability to keep colors and shapes unchanged for more than 2,000 years which would help record and preserve cultural assets. It also has the largest exhibition space in Japan, with a total floor space of 29,412 square meters (316,588 square feet).

Other Museum Achievements

In March 2007, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed the Pontifical Order of Pope St. Sylvester on Akihiko Otsuka, then director general of the Otsuka Museum of Art, for his contribution to introducing and furthering Christian art in Japan.

The Director of the Vatican Museums said: “The people of Japan can experience the beauty and learn the history of Christian art at the Otsuka Museum of Art. The Sistine Chapel of the Vatican and the Sistine Hall here in Naruto City are not in opposition, but rather complement each other.” The Otsuka Museum of Art aims to inspire people through art, and serve as a bridge connecting the world’s cultures.

The Otsuka Museum of Art exhibits full-scale reproductions of more than 1000 major works of Western art from 25 countries.

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Gogh’s Sunflowers, and Picasso’s Guernica, among many others, are displayed in one place so that visitors may view them at one time. The Otsuka Museum of Art makes it possible for people in Japan to learn about the history of Western art by allowing them to experience the majesty of the works in their original sizes.

In 2011 and 2012, The Otsuka Museum of Art ranked the top among Trip Advisor’s rankings for “the best museum to have visited” category.

Last month, the Otsuka Museum of Art welcomed its 3 millionth guest, and the museum strives to be a place that allows people to connect to art by creating a new world of artistic culture based on the spirit of “creation,” one of the founding principles of the Otsuka Group.


Oct 18, 2013

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A leading expert on management engages a group of future leaders of Otsuka to think critically on “art of decision making and leadership”. Professor Sheena Iyengar of Business in the Management Division at Columbia Business School, challenged about two dozen future directors at Human Resource Development Institute in Tokushima on how to lead better in a global company in the 21st century.

Professor Iyengar launched the Global Leadership Matrix (GLeaM) at Columbia Business School in 2011 and has been working tirelessly to advance and promote understanding of leadership in a global context.

Professor Iyengar is an inspiration to many people who have seen her speak at TED. Born in Toronto, Canada, her parents were originally from Delhi, India. In early 70’s, her family moved to New York and then to New Jersey by the end of that decade.

When Professor Iyengar was three years old, she was diagnosed with a rare form of retinis pigmentosa, an inherited disease of retinal degeneration. And when she was around 12 years old, she had lost her ability to read and in her teens she had totally lost her vision and could only perceive light. With that type of tenacity of exceeding what the world expected of someone without sight and hopefulness, she achieved academic excellence through blazing her own path. As a teacher who knows more heartache than perhaps most, she imparts wisdom through her academic excellence as well as her personal experiences.

The collaboration of Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Columbia Business School is one that strives to inspire Otsuka’s employees. It is a year-long program where future leaders meet every month. Otsuka taps into the resources of GLeaM's interdisciplinary team from Columbia's Business School, Sociology Department, and Psychology Department, where they are developing a range of innovative research and information sharing initiatives that will serve the interests of academics, organizations, and people across the globe.

The training program is aimed at employees in management who have been with Otsuka for more than 15 years to gain hands on training on social capital networking that has a big impact on decision making.



Oct 11, 2013

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Otsuka’s Growth in Europe Leads to Exciting New Office Move

As a result of Otsuka’s recent growth in Europe, an increased employee numbers from around 100 in Feb 2013 to around 140 in Oct 2013; and expansion with a new operation, Otsuka Europe Development & Commercialisation (OEDC) established in July 2013, a larger work area was needed.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd. (OPEL), Otsuka Europe Development & Commercialisation (OEDC) and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals (U.K.) Ltd. (OPUK) have relocated to the West of London in Wexham, in the United Kingdom to bring the research & development and commercial operations teams together for optimal collaboration.

Operating under Otsuka’s corporate philosophy of ‘Otsuka-people creating new products for better health worldwide’, Otsuka’s European business was originally established in 1979 focussing on the development of innovative products and medical devices that address high unmet medical needs.

Why a brand new office 20km west of London and not in the middle of the city?

Otsuka Chairman Akihiko Otsuka once said, “Outlying areas lack convenience, but they give you more room to ponder things. [sic] Because living in rural areas requires resourcefulness, I always maintained the view that we had to take the hard way. This really challenges people; also, there is less competition when you take the hard way, the road less travelled.”

Embracing Otsuka’s approach to innovation and unconventional thinking, the interior of Otsuka’s new office has been specifically designed to encourage employees to think more creatively and includes an ‘Innovation area’, quiet rooms and an English pub themed restaurant known as ‘The Otsuka Arms’. The open plan style encourages collaboration, teamwork and communication helping with the cross fertilisation of ideas. The beautiful countryside setting also helps to promote a feeling of well-being.

An official opening event was held at the new offices on Friday, 11th October 2013 welcoming 140 employees to the new site. The day included a presentation from the senior management team, ribbon cutting and the signing of a Daruma doll, a popular good luck talisman in Japan. The eye of the Daruma is filled in when setting a goal and the other eye is filled in when the goal is achieved. If you want to know ‘the goal’ you will have to visit the office!

"Our move to new premises reflects Otsuka Europe’s commitment to deliver growth and performance within Europe and is a fitting setting for the determination, expertise and professionalism of our staff. We are all extremely excited about our new innovative integrated office space which will enable us to continue to collaborate effectively and accommodate future expansion." Ole Vahlgren, CEO & President - Otsuka Europe

Sep 26, 2013

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Pharmavite began an educational effort with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) more than 10 years ago when it recognized the potential of partnering with a national medical organization with more than 110,000 physicians members. The opportunity was to provide science-based dietary supplement information on the products that were part of the Nature Made brand. The reach of the family physician is broad with, nearly 1 in 4 doctor visits in the United States being made to a family physician.

Four years ago, Pharmavite became a founding partner of a new AAFP education initiative to bring the Nature Made’s science based messages to family physicians. Overall support from the AAFP leadership and response from the AAFP membership to the dietary supplement education programs has been overwhelmingly positive.

On September 26, 2013, Doug MacLean, Pharmavite’s CEO, accepted the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation’s Outstanding Service Award on behalf of Pharmavite at the AAFP Foundation Dinner. It is the Academy’s highest recognition for vendors, suppliers and companies that support the medical profession or their employees.

“The depth of this honor is that the nominations are made by the AAFP state chapters, members and staff to the AAFP Board of Directors,” said Doug MacLean. “It speaks to the strength of the relationship between our two organizations and our common vision of optimizing health and wellness for individuals, our communities and people around the world.”

The 11th year will break new ground with Pharmavite’s creation of an initiative called Nature Made Cares About Family Medicine. It is designed to raise funds to support Family Medicine Cares, the AAFP Foundation’s humanitarian program to establish new free medical clinics. The initiative encourages physician engagement with and education about dietary supplements with patients.

“The Nature Made Cares About Family Medicine program adds a new dimension to Pharmavite’s support of the Foundation’s work,” said Craig Doane, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at the AAFP. “We know our members place a high value on the humanitarian efforts of the organization, and they consistently request and need patient education materials for their day-to-day practice. The innovative design of this new program allows both goals to be achieved.” Nature Made Cares About Family Medicine is a part of Pharmavite’s strategic partnership with the AAFP. The partnership allows Nature Made to reach AAFP’s physician members with Nature Made brand information and dietary supplement-focused educational materials.

Sep 6, 2013

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Otsuka continued its active participation in APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) events at the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE) 2013 Forum, which brought together 800 delegates from 21 member economies in Bali, Indonesia, September 6-8. The PPWE provides a mechanism to integrate gender considerations into APEC activities.

This year’s forum was themed “Women as Economic Drivers” and it addressed how women can advance economic activity across APEC. The forum was opened by Linda Amalia Sari Gumelar, Indonesian Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection. She stressed the need for women to fulfill their potential in the Indonesian economy in which women own 60% of microbusinesses, a sector generating more than 50% of GDP.

The panel on Infrastructure and Human Capital was moderated by Ms. Akiko Ryu, Senior Operating Officer, Global Head of Public Relations Department, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Co., Ltd.. The development of soft and hard infrastructure to help women access information to gain knowledge and thereby contribute to the economy development was discussed. Ms. Ryu raised important questions on the kinds of human capital challenges to overcome to advance women in entrepreneurship and in other forms of work, particularly in rural areas.

Ms. Ryu moderated the session that brought together the Minister of Council of Economic
Planning and Development of Chinese Taipei,Chung Ming Kuan; the CEO of Martha Tilaar Group,
Martha Tilaar; Executive Director of GAP Inc. PACE USA, Dotti Hatcher; Managing Director Tupperware Indonesia, Nining Pernama; and Senior Manager for Global HR Unicharm Japan, Miyako Sasaki. The session concluded that there was an urgent need to build supporting infrastructure and develop skills to enhance women’s economic productivity.

Numerous other women leaders from Indonesia and other APEC member countries addressed the forum. Japanese Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate Minister of State for Gender Equality, Masako Mori spoke on the importance of diversity, including female workforce participation, as a growth driver. She also spoke on the central importance of women's success and advancement in Japan to the government's revitalization strategy.

The mayor of Yokohama Japan, Fumiko Hayashi noted in her speech that through cooperation of the private sector, in Yokohama essentially no children need to wait at home at the end of the day for their working mothers to return. The mayor added, “In order to change the social structure, we need to reform our consciousness by deeper utilization of women's perspectives. A more diversified society in which women play active leadership roles will enrich and vitalize our economy and country.

Participants from the Otsuka Group in Indonesia interacted with other women leaders from around the globe and commented that the event reinforced the importance of taking into account each individual’s personal initiatives when making decisions as a useful way to implement the values of diversity.

Sep 1, 2013

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A new omugi (barley) brand was launched today across Japan. The Omugi Seikatsu*2 products include Omugi Crackers, two flavors of Omugi Rice and two flavors of Omugi Soup and they are available in supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores in Japan.

Omugi Crackers can be eaten with cheese or crushed into yoghurt or eaten plain. To prepare Omugi Rice that contains 3,000 mg omugi beta-glucans, just microwave the packet for 2 minutes. And add hot water to Omugi Soup mixture for a cup of tasty and hearty soup.

Benefits of Omugi

The scientific community has been exploring the benefits of omugi, which is rich in omugi beta-glucans, a type of water soluble fiber. At a press seminar held earlier, Professor Sachie Ikegami, Emeritus Professor at Otsuma Women’s University spoke about prevention of lifestyle diseases by eating omugi products. She explained that this water soluble fiber has multiple health benefits such as lowering risk of heart disease.

Professor Ikegami has been researching the benefits of omugi for over 30 years when nobody had any interest in Japan. She said now there’s more interest because researches have shown that omugi beta-glucans slow down the absorption of sugar in the body, therefore reducing the rise in blood glucose levels after meals, making it hard for people to get fat. She said omugi beta-glucans also lower cholesterol level and help people become regular. She said barley grains contain 20 times more fiber than white rice grains/100 g.

Global Recognition of Omugi Beta-Glucans

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration recommends people to take 3,000 mg of beta-glucans daily for health maintenance, such as lowering the risk of coronary heart disease. And according to the European Food Safety Authority’s Scientific Opinion, consumption of 3,000 mg or more of omugi beta-glucans lowers blood cholesterol and reduces risk of (coronary) heart disease.

Professor Ikegami said, “It is very hard to create a food product that contains 3,000 mg of omugi beta-glucans, so I am excited to see that Otsuka has taken the lead to do so.”

For more information in Japanese, click here:

Aug 13, 2013

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The heat wave with outdoor temperature of 41°Celsius (105.8° Fahrenheit) did not deter fans from all over Japan to descend upon a tiny town Wajiki with a population of 9,000. “Exciting Summer in Wajiki '13” outdoor rock concert took place on August 13th, a day after Otsuka Ren performed at the annual Awa Dance Festival in Tokushima.

Otsuka employees together with local community members get together every year to organize the outdoor concert at the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Tokushima Wajiki Factory. This year is the 24th annual summer concert and was sponsored in conjunction with the local municipal offices.

Music fans from near and far flocked to the lush rolling green hills of the Tokushima Wajiki Factory to see performances by popular Japanese artists that included Tatsuya Ishii, Beni, Rake, SKY-HI and Negoto.

Despite the scorching hot summer weather, the younger fans were screaming and jumping up and down when the artists got on the stage and everyone waved their hands in the air when their favorite songs were performed.

Organized in partnership with local businesses with the goal of revitalizing and contributing to community development, Exciting Summer in Wajiki was first held at the Tokushima Wajiki Factory in 1990. Featuring promising young artists, the mid-summer outdoor concert, timed to coincide with the famed Tokushima Prefecture Awa Dance festival, has become a popular annual tradition. Over the years, Exciting Summer in Wajiki has grown to become one of Shikoku's largest outdoor musical events. This year, about 200 Otsuka Pharmaceutical employees volunteered to help at the concert that made it a success.

The factory production line was also opened to the public, and 700 visitors had come to see the production of Calorie Mate, which was celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The Tokushima Wajiki Factory was built in 1989 under the direction of Chairman Akihiko Otsuka as a factory park to bring work to a hilltop town. The dry climate in the high altitude was chosen to produce Calorie Mate which was then trucked for two hours to the nearest ports for shipping. The intention to revitalize Wajiki progressed with the building of an outdoor stage surrounded by greenery and a large, open space accented with artwork.

Aug 12, 2013

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Every year in August, Otsuka Group’s researchers, marketers, engineers and even Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s president himself, come together to perform in Japan’s largest dance festival. The colorful, 400-year old traditional Awa Dance performance brought well over 1.23 million spectators from all over Japan and overseas to the tiny Tokushima town of 700,000 population.

August 12th was a hot and muggy day with the mercury hitting 37.3 Celsius (99.14 Fahrenheit), but that did not dampen the excitement among the dancers in Otsuka Ren.

Otsuka’s participation started in 1988 with the formation of the Otsuka Ren by scientists, sales representatives, quality control service staff, etc, from plants and research centers in Tokushima Prefecture, a little less than an hour’s flight southwest from Tokyo. Now, employees working in Tokyo and Osaka offices are able participate in the dance as well.

About 100 employees that form the Otsuka Ren receive grueling training and must pass the annual audition to perform at the Awa Dance Festival. They practice at various locations after work which also helps build strong bonds among staff that normally don’t get the opportunity to socialize with fellow employees from other fields.

This year, 20 new members were admitted to Otsuka Ren, among them was Rosa Yum, an expatriate from the US. The former broadcast journalist recently joined Otsuka Pharmaceutical and was extremely excited and grateful to be able to participate in the festival because such an opportunity is extremely rare. And the companies participating in the festival must have the vision and leadership to bring together people from different backgrounds and experiences to make the Awa Dance a success.

Jul 13, 2013

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In the lead-up to the 2014 meeting of the heads of state of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) nations, which will be held in China, the Chinese government hosted the APEC China CEO Forum 2013 on July 13 in Beijing.

Tatsuo Higuchi, President and CEO of Otsuka Holdings, participated in this forum as a speaker in the panel discussion on Chinese economic issues and development. Otsuka was invited by the Chinese government to participate in this CEO forum because of Otsuka’s innovation in health care issues, including pharmaceuticals, and track record in business development in China and Asia. The panel discussion meeting room was packed with 400 government VIPs and industry representatives.

Summary of President Higuchi’s Presentation

The theme of the panel discussion was “Future innovation in technology will come not from the West, but from the East – Do You Agree?” President Higuchi’s presentation covered the following topics.

(1) Innovations, regardless of their geographical origin, are universally recognized and spread worldwide, and become further refined through this process. A long-term outlook is essential when discussing the impact and unexpected historical developments resulting from innovations. As one example, Susumu Tonegawa, who in 1987 had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity, had begun his studies in Japan, but later moved to the United States in order to study molecular biology, and then moved to Europe in order to study immunology, and it was through the fruits of his studies in different regions that he made his discovery. Gunpowder and paper were invented more than one thousand years ago in China and, through this same process of interaction and combination, subsequent discoveries and the development of the printing press in the West became possible.

(2) As with other scientific discoveries, new drug development requires continual effort, investment, and combinations of different technologies, from basic research through to manufacture, and a long-term outlook is indispensable for drug discovery innovation. As one example, a new drug for schizophrenia that Otsuka had discovered took more than 20 years of persistent research to bring to market, and during that time the company continued to seek out new ways to address unmet medical needs in schizophrenia.

(3) In many fields, including medicine, innovation has spread from West to East, or vice-versa. Innovations emerge based on people’s true needs, and succeed globally irrespective of their place of origin. Taking Japan as an example, Japanese society is right now confronting the problem of an increasingly elderly population, but this very problem will provide many opportunities for innovation in medical and health care for elderly societies.

(4) I would like to talk about Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s expansion in China as a way of explaining the effects that different time frames, societies, and environments have on innovation. In 1976, after the Tangshan Earthquake, the Chinese government realized the need for intravenous drip infusions manufactured using advanced technology, and asked Otsuka to manufacture them in China. In 1981, Otsuka Pharmaceutical became the first Japanese pharmaceutical company to open a plant in China together with the Chinese government. At that time, there was no system in place in China for accepting foreign investment. Otsuka nevertheless made the decision to invest, and the Otsuka Group now has twenty-seven companies in China.

(5) Innovation requires communication, effort, education, and attention to the surrounding societal and physical environment. More than anything, innovation requires diversity in cultures, organizations, and technologies, a fact that Otsuka has kept firmly in mind as we continue to develop new products, from our pharmaceutical drug business to our nutraceutical business. Innovation occurs through the interaction and combination of Eastern and Western elements.

Jul 10, 2013

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Ten years ago, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, together with Otsuka Pakistan Ltd. with 24 other Otsuka Group companies operating in Asia and the Middle East, founded the Otsuka Welfare Clinic in Peshawar, Pakistan to provide free medical service to Afghan refugees in need.

Driven into Pakistan by conflict in Afghanistan, 1.8 million refugees were living in camps and were desperately short of food and clothing much less medical care.

Since the opening of Otsuka Welfare Clinic, more than 687,000 people have visited the clinic.

As a health company, the Otsuka Group sought to find a way to directly help refugees in the field. The clinic also treats local residents and helps to relieve the burden of other medical facilities in the area that are flooded with patients.

Although many corporations and organizations were providing various sorts of relief supplies to the refugees, Otsuka Group companies decided to join forces to establish a free medical clinic managed by Otsuka Pakistan, in order to directly assist people suffering from sickness and ailments.

The clinic currently employs eight regular staff, including three physicians, assisted by nurses, pharmacists and midwives. The clinic mainly sees women and children, providing treatment for respiratory, digestive, dermatological, obstetric and gynecological ailments as well as ophthalmology and otolaryngology.

In July 2010, heavy flooding caused by severe rainfall in the region caused considerable damage at the nearby Aza Khel Refugee Camp. Clinic staff traveled to the area to set up a temporary treatment facility to provide care for people.

In December 2011, Japan’s ambassador to Pakistan bestowed recognition to the Otsuka Welfare Clinic for its outstanding contribution to community welfare through the provision of free medical, and having a positive influence on Japan-Pakistan relations.


Jul 5, 2013

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In July, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bener Meriah in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, North West Sumatra, Indonesia followed by 5.5 and 5.3 magnitude aftershocks. About 40 people were killed and more than 2000 were injured by the quake. This massive quake also destroyed more than 6000 houses. As displaced victims started to congregate with nearly no possessions with them, PT Amerta Indah Otsuka immediately responded to their needs.

The Sales and Promotion team in Medan and Distributor team in Lhokseumawe quickly set into motion a delivery plan. The team left Medan Branch on July 4th at 11:00PM and drove eight hours and arrived in Lhokseumawe at 7:00AM the next day. Then the total team of five drove another four hours to the affected areas and distributed POCARI SWEAT until 9:00PM of that day.

Many roads were still closed due to the earthquake and that is why it took so long to find the camp locations, but that did not deter the staff from delivering the much needed beverages to the victims, a total of 9,600 bottles of POCARI SWEAT.

It was only after the team made sure that all the bottles were properly distributed into the hands of the victims that the Otsuka staff returned to Medan, which took another eight hours. We are extremely proud how swift our response to the natural disaster was and will continue to find ways to assist should such a need arise again!

Jun 18, 2013

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This innovative invention prize is the highest award in Japan which began nearly a century ago in 1919. The prize comes from the “Japanese Institute of Invention and Innovation” (JIII). The JIII has been under the patron of H.I.H. Prince Hitachi since 1968. The award is to recognize people, who have accomplished original inventions, and contributed to the promotion of technology and is extremely rare for a pharmaceutical company to be awarded such an honor.

This year, The Imperial Invention Prize was awarded to Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s 3 researchers, Seiji Sato, Yasuo Oshiro and Nobuyuki Kurahashi for the invention of the compound aripiprazole. Sato, Oshiro and Kurahashi were part of a research team that synthesized a new medication for treating schizophrenia, the first antipsychotic drug developed in the world with a dopamine D2 receptor partial agonist action.

Yasuo Oshiro, Ph.D., Corporate Advisor, Intellectual Property Department, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. said, “Receiving the Imperial Invention Prize is the highest honor. I never imagined being awarded this prize. As someone working in drug research and development, it is extremely gratifying to receive this award. I am fortunate to be surrounded by colleagues who have offered me their unwavering support and encouragement. None of what I have achieved would have been possible without the help of such exceptional coworkers in the fields of drug synthesis and pharmaceutics.”

Schizophrenia is thought to be caused by an imbalance of chemicals — serotonin and dopamine — that are found in the brain. The condition is characterized by positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, speaking, and behavior. Negative symptoms include lack of emotion, lack of energy, and lack of motivation.

Dr. Oshiro had put importance on 3 hypotheses during his research; first, the compound should selectively block dopamine receptors. Second, the amount of dopamine should be reduced. And third, side effects should be lessened. After all three conditions were satisfied over numerous synthesizing of compounds, the team discovered the candidate compound, aripiprazole. It was able to stabilize effect on the nervous system by suppressing dopamine activity when excessive and stimulating it when dopamine activity is low.

This led to a drug development which was eventually launched in the US in 2002 and became a blockbuster product after only three years on the market. It was also launched in Japan as a treatment for schizophrenia in 2006. An additional indication was approved in January 2012 for treatment of manic symptoms of bipolar disorder. Also noteworthy is that in November 2007, aripiprazole was the first antipsychotic drug in the world to obtain an indication for the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder in US.

Nobuyuki Kurahashi, Vice President, Global CNS Business, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. explained, “Dr. Ohshiro incorporated ‘safety’ in the drug design from the very beginning. When aripiprazole was introduced to the market, these excellent ‘safety’ properties earned widespread praise from doctors, families, and patients. Also because of this feature, aripiprazole has been used for so many patients and so many diseases beyond the conventional drug category. Ever since I joined the company, it has brought me great honor to be involved with this drug, from its initial discovery through to its market launch worldwide.”

Seiji Sato, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, First Institute of New Drug Discovery, Medicinal Chemistry Group, “Failure is common in our field, drug synthesis. The hard work is tackled first. You are constantly aware of the obstacles that you have not been able to overcome in the past, and you keep trying over and over again to overcome those challenges because beyond them lies success and you will discover new findings along the way. Partial agonists are at first glance a difficult concept to believe in. I think Dr. Oshiro’s courage in taking that first step to tackle this concept, as well as the strength of his conviction, were the driving forces behind this achievement.”

All this would not be possible without the support and encouragement of a strong and farsighted leader. For the steadfast leadership, Otsuka Pharmaceutical President and Representative Director, Taro Iwamoto, Ph.D., was honored with The Distinguishing Service Prize for Employment of Invention.


Jun 7, 2013

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In 1971, two innovative young Americans founded Pharmavite; the following year they developed the vitamin brand Nature Made® committed to providing high quality vitamins and supplements to retail markets for people who want to lead healthier lives. The original Pharmavite commitment has not changed for over 40 years. Today, Pharmavite LLC is one of the largest US manufacturers of high-quality vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements, and Nature Made® is the #1 selling national vitamin and supplement brand in traditional retail scanning outlets. Pharmavite LLC has been a subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. since 1989.

Pharmavite’s new facility in Opelika sets a new standard for manufacturing excellence. The facility is designed to produce the highest quality products, featuring state of the art technology and will be the first major vitamin facility in the US to be LEED certified.

As, the US dietary supplement market has tripled since 1995, the Opelika facility is a key part of Pharmavite’s strategic plan to meet the growing global consumer demand for health and wellness products like Nature Made supplements. It also serves as a showcase of our passion for quality, efficacy and innovation.

The company supports research with major universities on vitamins and supplements. Supporting this research is consistent with Pharmavite’s vision of “Inspiring the healthiest you through more complete nutrition wherever you are in life”.

This new facility in Opelika is the first dietary supplement facility in Alabama, a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. The production capacity will meet the company’s forecasted future growth. As part of the facility, Pharmavite has created an educational tour that it will be sharing with the community.

It is Pharmavite’s intention to provide these products globally in addition to the United States, so the new facility will contribute to people’s better health around the world.

Jun 7, 2013

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On June 7 and 8, 2013, at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, in Rancho Mirage, California, American President Barack Obama held a bilateral meeting, followed by a working dinner, with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China. Ridge Vineyards 2008 Geyserville Zinfandel was served with the main course – the Porterhouse steak.

Dinner diplomacy of course requires world-class cuisine, but the culinary merit of each menu item is not the sole consideration; each dish has political significance. Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, a French diplomat at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, emerged victorious from the negotiations at the Congress of Vienna due in no small part to the wines of Chateau Haut-Brion and the grand cuisine of legendary chef Marie-Antoine Carême. There is no question that Ridge Vineyards 2008 Geyserville was carefully chosen as a representation of America's influence.

China has experienced rapid and continuous economic growth, and has passed Japan to become the world's second-largest economy, after America. China is becoming a leader in both the importation and production of wine as well. It is significant that the red wine served to China's leaders was a Zinfandel-based blend. There are many American wines that are more expensive than Geyserville, such as Cabernets from Napa. A Zinfandel was likely chosen because it is a distinctly "American" variety, one that symbolizes an America that has become the world's dominant power and that has carved out its own unique position in the world, while still retaining its connections to the culture and traditions of Europe. Ridge Vineyards was acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals in 1986 and is honored that, out of all the Zinfandels available, Ridge Vineyards 2008 Geyserville was chosen to represent America at this dinner.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay, the owner and executive chef of several restaurants, including Mesa Grill, was chosen to represent America in the preparation of the meal itself.

Apr 26, 2013

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Researchers, manufacturing engineers, personnel trainers, public relations staff … are members of the Awa Dance group, Otsuka Ren. And they were invited to perform Awa Dance, a 400-year-old traditional Japanese dance, at the Copenhagen Sakura Festival.

Why were we in Denmark?

Back in 2011, Otsuka entered into a long-term partnership with Danish pharmaceutical company, Lundbeck, in the world’s largest Central Nervous System alliance.

At that time, Japanese Ambassador to Denmark Toshio Sano was seated next to Otsuka Pharmaceutical President and Representative Director, Dr. Taro Iwamoto at the inauguratory event and shared a lively conversation that inspired the ambassador to invite Otsuka’s Awa Dance group to perform at the Copenhagen Sakura Festival.

That’s how after over a year of planning and preparations Otsuka Ren ended up in Denmark. The Awa Dance performers participated in various activities including a dance performance at Lundbeck’s headquarters, in which many Lundbeck employees enthusiastically joined in.

Apart from the dancing, Dr. Iwamoto and Mr. Wiinberg hosted a highly successful afternoon of discussions with leading media in Europe. The Copenhagen media event complimented the one held on March 7th in Tokushima, at which the two leaders met with members of the Japanese media.

Before the events at Lundbeck, families with strollers, older people and teens all gathered over the weekend for the 6th Copenhagen Sakura Festival in Langelinie Park, where Otsuka Ren performed.

Over 17,000 people attended the 2-day event and about 50 Otsuka Ren performers, an auditioned group of dancers and musicians formed in 1988, traveled all the way from Japan to Denmark to participate in the festival. The appreciation and enthusiasm of the audience was visible on every face present, perhaps most so when the Awa dancers performed amidst the crowd shown in the photo above.

The three days of lively and informative events well illustrated Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s presence on the global stage, both literally and figuratively.


Apr 4, 2013

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The new version of POCARI SWEAT, “POCARI SWEAT ION WATER”, was launched on April 8th! This new health drink was aimed to smoothly replenish water and electrolytes lost during everyday work that offers a light sweetness, a refreshing taste with reduced calories.

The new beverage was designed to incorporate the benefits of the original POCARI SWEAT – based on the concept of a rehydration drink that smoothly replenishes water and electrolytes in the body.

The launch ceremony was held at the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in Tokyo which was packed with Japanese media to view the new television commercial for POCARI SWEAT ION WATER starring Japanese actress Kyoko Fukada.

Masayuki Umeno, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Vice President and Representative Director said, “By continuing innovation, diversity and globalization approach, Otsuka can achieve its goal to create and provide new products that contribute to people’s health”.

Taste inventor, Akihisa Takaichi, was recognized by Otsuka Pharmaceutical for his important role in working on the POCARI SWEAT ION WATER’s new refreshing taste for the past 6 years.

POCARI SWEAT is a very popular health drink from Japan that is known widely around the world. A choice of three sizes (250 ml, 500 ml and 900 ml) POCARI SWEAT ION WATER will initially be sold in supermarkets, convenience stores, drugstores and other channels throughout Japan.


Apr 1, 2013

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Each year, hundreds of new staff are hired in Japan by the Otsuka Group and within Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. this year, 164 college graduates were selected to be part of the path blazing corporation.

The best and the brightest are recruited in Japan and globally every year to join the Otsuka family. And for the new hires in Japan, the passage from student life to professional life starts in Tokushima, Japan, where Otsuka was founded and where the New Staff Welcome Ceremony is held every year. The beginning of the fiscal year in Japan is April 1st, and that is the day most Japanese companies hold new hire welcome ceremonies across the country. And if parents had a chance to attend, they would be brimming with pride and even tears in the corners of their eyes, just like the day their children graduated from universities.

The event started with congratulatory and welcome speeches from nine of the company heads under the Otsuka Group. On behalf of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. President Taro Iwamoto, Ph.D. welcomed the new employees by first sharing with them what leadership meant to him: energy, the capacity to energize others, edginess for achievement, execution and passion.

And then Dr. Iwamoto asked students if they possessed what it took for them to become leaders of tomorrow. With positive replies, he said he was confident that the company will do well under them.

The ceremony is only the beginning of a one to six-month training period in Tokushima. These young men and women will learn about the history of Otsuka, the various Otsuka businesses and how to establish themselves within the company, as they bond with other new employees who may well become their teammates for many years to come.


Mar 27, 2013

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Ninety-nine people with ninety-nine nationalities got together to break a world record in Beijing, China. The world record breaking event took place in Beijing Blue Ocean International Business Building where the POCARI SWEAT team members organized the March 27th sauna gathering.

The Guinness World Record was having ninety-nine nationalities be in a sauna for five minutes all at the same time. Each participant had their passports checked by the Guinness World Record official before being let into the venue. After spending five very hot minutes in the sauna, it was the perfect time to provide what these participants lost during their sweating session, fluids and electrolytes.

POCARI SWEAT ion supply drinks were passed out to all the participants as soon as they came out from the large heated room with glass walls. This health drink easily replenished the fluids and ions (electrolytes) lost while perspiring. It is an ideal beverage for those who have been sweating while playing sports, working or sitting in a sauna! It can also hydrate the body first thing in the morning.


Mar 21, 2013

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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).


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