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Someone who is of one mind with doctors and works hard together with them for the sake of patients

Shiori Koyama

Marketing & Sales Div.
Kanto-Minami Regional
Management Office
Tokyo Branch 2
Since 2015

Every action is for the sake of patients.

Although Koyama majored in agriculture at university and went on to graduate school, she felt that she was not cut out to be a researcher in academia. ‘I have always liked interacting with many people, and in my university days, I always worked casual jobs in the restaurant industry. That experience led me to think that I would be suited to a job in which I could engage with and be of service to people, which is why I applied for sales positions in my search for employment after graduating. In particular, I came to aspire to be an MR, which is a critical sales job related to human life where I could make use of my scientific background.’ Koyama was particularly drawn to Chugai Pharmaceutical due to its strengths in the field of cancer, a disease that afflicts many people, and its active approach toward the advanced concept of personalized medicine. She also heard about the company’s culture of working in teams, and she was attracted by the notion of people working together to achieve a common goal.

Koyama’s first posting was to a branch in the suburbs of the Kanto region. Koyama says that Chugai Pharmaceutical respects what its MRs want to do even in their junior years. ‘In about my third year with the company, my job was to provide information on an osteoporosis drug to orthopedic specialists. However, this drug had the potential for serious adverse drug reactions during dental treatment. Because of this, I approached the local dentists’ association and planned and held a workshop for dentists. The orthopedic specialists were also happy that the risks to their patients had been reduced.When I consulted with my boss about holding the workshop, he encouraged me, saying that, even if it was not an activity that would produce immediate results, I should do it for the patients’ sake. This is a very typical Chugai Pharmaceutical stance and one that really boosted my motivation toward my work.’

Swaying doctors with conviction and passion.

In her fourth year at the company, Koyama was transferred to Tokyo and is now responsible for the accounts of a number of university hospitals and general hospitals there. She says that Chugai Pharmaceutical’s abundance of development pipelines (new drug candidates) is a great motivator for her MR activities. On the other hand, she has found it difficult to make inroads with new drugs in disease domains that Chugai Pharmaceutical had not previously been engaged in. ‘Even when a drug that offers a new treatment is released, doctors are hesitant to use it straightaway because they have a track record with the treatments that they have mastered to date. Many patients are also reluctant to be prescribed drugs that they don’t know anything about. Just recently, I proposed a newly released bio-drug expected to be effective against a certain rare disease to a doctor at a university hospital, in the belief that it would be worth using for the doctor’s patient, but initially, the doctor would not readily accept my proposal.’

Koyama called on the doctor many times and continued to advocate the value of this drug with conviction. The doctor was eventually swayed by Koyama’s determination and finally decided to use the drug. ‘That instant, when the doctor and I were of the same mind, was a precious moment for me. The doctor passionately persuaded the patient to take the drug, and the patient agreed, so this was also a case in which I was able to be of great service to patients. After successfully persuading the patient, the doctor called me immediately to let me know that the patient would be taking the drug. I still vividly remember that moment when we shared that sense of joy.’ Building up a track record of successful experiences such as this, Koyama continues to grow as an MR.

Eliminating healthcare disparities within the region to deliver appropriate treatment to all patients.

Koyama has now set her sights at a higher level and is striving to enhance the quality of treatment throughout the entire region. ‘One of my healthcare institution accounts is a hemophilia hospital that serves as a base for the region. Although hemophilia is a serious disease, there are disparities in the treatment available to patients depending on the hospitals and doctors that are treating them. I felt that this situation was problematic. When I expressed my concerns about this problem to an influential doctor at the hemophilia hospital, he strongly agreed with me, so we started working together to support hospitals in the region that were not doing as well with the diagnosis and treatment of hemophilia as they would like. As a result of our efforts, an environment was established in which every hospital in the region is able to deliver proper treatment for hemophilia. I believe we were able to make a significant impact with this initiative.’

This kind of energetic performance by Koyama is buoyed by a strong system of support for MRs’ activities within the company. If MRs have any concerns in the course of communicating with doctors, they can immediately ask in-house experts about adverse drug reaction information and academic information and obtain the answers they need. Moreover, Chugai Pharmaceutical has specialist MRs who have highly advanced knowledge in specific disease domains. MRs can coordinate with these specialists to provide information of even higher quality. ‘When I joined the company, I had heard that Chugai Pharmaceutical MRs work together to achieve their goals, and this really was the case. Because I can obtain the support of experts in various fields, I can take on new challenges without hesitation. There is also a corporate culture that encourages such challenges.’ At the heart of that culture is a consideration for patients. The fact that, no matter the situation, that consideration never wavers is, Koyama believes, the most appealing feature of Chugai Pharmaceutical.

*The contents of this article, and the divisions that the people featured in this article belonged to and the names of those divisions are current as of the time of the interview.


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