Enhancing Product Value Through Provision and Collection of Proper Information and Through Activities that Meet Medical Needs and Community Characteristics
Drugs are of no value unless they can be used properly in those who are suffering from disease while undergoing medical treatment.
We conduct scientific information dissemination activities based on market research and analysis, not only to properly provide and collect evidence-based information but also to offer therapy options appropriate to patient needs and community characteristics.
Bringing New Drugs to New Patients
We have a number of products that have been newly launched or had indications added in recent years, and we will continue to contribute to patients’ wellbeing by promptly delivering medicines to patients who need them.
To this end, the Sales and Marketing will promote the development of specialty personnel who can communicate with healthcare professionals from their perspective, and promote the use of digital technology to not only promote appropriate use, but also to work with healthcare professionals to solve medical issues from the patient’ s perspective.
There are many patients with unmet medical needs to which our drugs can contribute, such as those with chronic kidney disease, cancer cachexia, and cancer of unknown primary origin. We aim to maximize product value by working with healthcare professionals to spread disease awareness, diagnosis, and treatment, and by reaching as many patients as possible.
Developing a More Efficient Sales System
Our information-sharing framework enables our MRs to share across the company the valuable information they gather from the frontline of healthcare. We also continually pursue brining effciency to MR activities by using the FAQ system and AI. In the primary care domain, we work with a medical case zone-based marketing system that allow for closer community-based area activities, as well as team management encouraging inter-domain communication. In the oncology domain, we divide MRs into two teams—one with focus on lung and renal cell cancers and the other with focus on gastrointestinal and hematologic cancers to strengthen their expertise and improve the quality and quantity of information that they will provide to healthcare professionals.
Prompt and Appropriate Provision of Medical and Scientific Information
One role of drug manufacturers is to relay up-to-date information as quickly as possible about daily advances in healthcare to the frontline of healthcare and to provide opportunities for information exchange. We actively provide information by organizing symposiums and seminars in conjunction with academic conferences held in Japan and through workshops and lectures in regional areas. In addition, we put effort into disseminating up-to-date drug information through operation several websites for medical professionals. In FY2020, we continued to hold web-based seminars and product presentations in line with various needs, including more than 500 live webinars, to relay up-to-date drug information to the frontline of healthcare.
Our Medical Affairs Department works to attain a high level of expertise and academic knowledge in oncology and primary care domains to assess and collect medical and scientific needs of healthcare professionals through meeting with experts or attending at advisory board meetings. In response to request from healthcare professionals, we provide such evidence-based medical and scientific information with transparency to contribute to the healthcare frontline.
Strengthening Community-Based Activities
In response to changes in medical care systems toward the establishment of community-based integrated care systems, our MRs make new problem-solving proposals and consult with medical providers by understanding the characteristics of the medical care system of each community area, so that we can provide drugs that truly benefit each individual patient, to become a player who can be appreciated by medical professionals.
In October 2018, we recruited more staff in the Area Support Promotion Department across each community area to assess, and promote solutions to, challenges and needs of government bodies and healthcare institutions.
In October 2019, we made an organizational reform in the primary care domain to strengthen organizing ability and increase marketing productivity.
Based on team organization per secondary medical care zone, we completely reformed our organizational structure into a system that consists of 3 business divisions with 12 branches and 97 sales offices. We also streamlined our reporting lines in a three-layer structure—MRs, sales office directors, and branch directors—for prompt decision making and active communication.
In the oncology domain, we have an organization with two teams—one with a focus on lung and renal cell cancers and the other with a focus on gastrointestinal (including stomach) and hematologic cancers, both providing relevant information.
We train MRs in this domain to have highly specialized expertise to become oncology MRs who are highly appreciated by healthcare professionals. Our MRs are rated by healthcare professionals as providing high-quality information.
Promotion of Information Dissemination Activities Using Digital Technology
Gathering accurate information and providing appropriate information are important to enhance the value of products. Due in part to the spread of COVID-19, the channels through which healthcare professionals obtain information are becoming increasingly diverse. In particular, information is increasingly being obtained via the Internet, and we have enhanced our own websites, such as “ONO Medical Navi” and “ONO Oncology.” In addition, we newly established the Remote Communication Section in October 2020, and it serves as an e-MR to provide information to, and collect information from, medical professionals via email or Zoom.
Going forward, it will take the lead in promoting seamless and hybrid activities that integrate physical and digital information dissemination based on accumulated data. A system is under construction that will deliver appropriate information to medical professionals at appropriate times, in appropriate places, and by appropriate methods.
Use of AI (Details）
We have strengthened our artificial intelligence (AI)-based MR support systems. The drug information system "MIRAI Answer" is a chatbot (automated answering system) that provides MRs with drug safety information and up-to-date clinical trial or paper information. The MR asks questions in text or voice to the system and it will give 10 different answers per question. If the MR asks, for example, "what is the evidence for advanced lung cancer?" the system shows the answers in descending order of relevance. It is easy to find an answer to the MR's question at a glance. The system also helps MRs learn by themselves.
The AI-based scoring learning support system "MIRAI Doctor" gives MRs "role-play training" on tablets, which is designed to simulate interacting with doctors. The system asks questions, the MR answers them verbally, and their answers are automatically recorded and scored. The system allows MRs to use in-between times efficiently, e.g., at home or in business car, to study by themselves. The system also contains an pet caring game that takes advantage of its scoring function, encouraging MRs to continue using the system.
Enhancement of Training Programs
To provide information that truly benefits patients, MRs work to enhance their professional quality, as well as product and disease knowledge, by keeping their skills up to date to verify healthcare professionals' needs.
We also hold field training programs at medical institutions. With cooperation received from medical institutions, we provide MRs with field training at dementia, diabetes and cancer care facilities, as well as at dialysis centers.