Shift to Prescription Drugs

A Dramatic Shift in Strategy for the Future Growth

The establishment of a universal health insurance coverage system in Japan in 1961 caused demand for prescription pharmaceuticals to rise rapidly. With the additional factor of increasing criticism of its non-prescription drugs, in 1966 Chugai resolved to shift from non-prescription to prescription pharmaceuticals. As a result, in 1974, 50% of the company’s sales came from prescription drugs, 30% from non-prescription drugs, and 20% from other sources.

POINT1 January 1967

Announcement of Three Corporate Principles

In the mid-1960s, Chugai bore the brunt of criticism of its non-prescription drugs, which caused sales to plummet and its stock price to fall below par value. Kimio Uyeno took over as president in 1966. In his New Year’s address the following year, he made an internal announcement of his management targets for rebuilding the company, and set forth three policies: pursuit of economic performance; pursuit of social awareness; and pursuit of human development. These soon became known as the “three corporate principles” and became established as the company’s principles of conduct.

POINT2 1975

Chugai Becomes the Leading Company focusing on Immunology

In the latter half of the 1960s, Chugai made a major change in orientation from over-the-counter drugs to prescription drugs, focusing on immunology as a new research field. A full effort of joint research and development of Picibanil®, an anti-tumor agent, began in 1965, leading to a product launch in 1975. The successful development of Picibanil®, which activates the immune system, helped to make the Chugai name famous in immunology.

POINT3 1970s

Shift in Policy to In-House Development of Original New Drugs

For Chugai, the 1970s were a period of transformation of its research activities. The shift in policy from technology-oriented basic and applied research to in-house development of original new drugs required changes that were both tangible and intangible. Chugai’s new drug launches in the 1980s included Alfarol®, an agent for improving calcium and bone metabolism, Cefotax®, a third-generation cephem antibiotic agent, and Sigmart®, a treatment for angina pectoris. The company first achieved ¥100 billion in net sales in 1984, but the seeds of this growth were sown in the 1970s.

POINT4 May 1972

Establishment of Nippon Roche Research Center

Nippon Roche was the first foreign pharmaceutical company to establish full-scale plants and laboratories in Japan. After building the Oi plant in 1954, the company made further proactive investments in facilities and staff. The company established plants in Kamakura (1967) and Fukuroi (1971) and a research center in Kamakura (1972). Nippon Roche also invested proactively in human resources, and began recruiting university graduates in Japan in 1966. Personnel grew from only 120 in 1965 to nearly 1,000 in 1972.

Chugai’s Key figures「Number of Medical Representative」
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