Chugai began in 1925 when Juzo Ueno founded Chugai Shinyaku Shokai, a pharmaceutical importer. Anguished by the tragedy of the Great Kanto Earthquake, Mr. Ueno adopted a mission: “Creating drugs that benefit the world.” That determination spurred him onward.
A Wish to Expand Overseas Incorporated in the Company Name
In March 1925, two years after the Great Kanto Earthquake, Juzo Ueno established an import agent for products from the German pharmaceutical company Gehe. Mr. Ueno named the company Chugai Shinyaku Shokai, with the ambition not simply to distribute high-quality pharmaceuticals from overseas throughout Japan, but eventually to provide Japanese pharmaceuticals overseas as well. (Chu-gai means, “in” and “out.”) At the time, Mr. Ueno was 32 years old and began operations with seven employees.
Successful In-House Production of Calcium Bromide
Since the Meiji Era, many people had suffered from tuberculosis in Japan. In 1930, at a time when Japan still lacked the technology to manufacture tuberculosis treatments, Chugai developed Salsobrocanon, an analgesic, antiphlogistic and antipyretic. When supply of its raw material calcium bromide, which depended on imports, became difficult following the Manchurian Incident in 1931, Mr. Ueno led efforts to develop the material, and succeeded in producing calcium bromide in-house in 1937.
Assignment of Japan’s First Medical Representative
Products from Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Roche, first arrived in Japan in 1904. Faced with poor sales from consignments through trading companies, Roche decided to begin direct sales, and dispatched Rudolf Ebeling, a surgeon, to Japan. Dr. Ebeling employed Shohei Ninomiya, a pharmacist who was trained in medicine and fluent in German. Mr. Ninomiya thus became the first forerunner of what are now called medical representatives (MRs).