Recruiting Site


Someone who tries to save as many patients as possible with drug safety information.

Yuya Ueda

Drug Safety Div. Safety Science Dept.
Since 2017

Even if the components of a drug cannot be changed, its risks can be reduced.

Yuya Ueda developed an interest in medicine in junior high school and majored in life sciences at university because he wanted to study a field related to human life. After completing a master’s degree with research into leukemia, Ueda, who wanted to work in the pharmaceutical industry, was attracted to Chugai Pharmaceutical’s drug safety position. ‘In the course of my job search in the pharmaceutical industry, I was considering development positions where I would be able to feel that I was helping patients sooner. Through my research, I came across Chugai Pharmaceutical’s “drug safety” category. This was a job I knew nothing about, but it intrigued me, so I took part in an internship.’ The experience of that internship greatly inspired Ueda.

As the name suggests, drug safety is a job that confirms the safety of drugs. Its mission includes gathering and analyzing information about adverse drug reactions and the like and disseminating information correctly to patients and healthcare professionals. ‘People tend to focus on the efficacy of drugs, such as what symptoms a certain drug would be effective against, but any drug inevitably involves risks, that is, adverse drug reactions, so ensuring drug safety is essential. The value of a drug is determined by the difference between its benefits and its risks, and the balance of these two is critical. Once a drug has been marketed, its ingredients will not change, so you might think that the risks of adverse drug reactions will not change either. However, if you know the timing of the onset of adverse reactions, their initial symptoms, and how to treat them, it may be possible to deal with them before they become serious or to minimize adverse drug reactions with prophylactic action. Also, if you can identify high-risk patients in advance, you will also have the option of avoiding administering the drug to those patients, while considering the balance between benefits and risks. In other words, risks can be mitigated by taking appropriate action. The internship helped me understand the significance of the work of drug safety. I really wanted to take on the challenge, so that is why I applied to Chugai Pharmaceutical.’

The standard demanded is high. That is what makes it worth the challenge.

Ueda says that Chugai Pharmaceutical is also the leading company in terms of drug safety in Japan’s pharmaceutical industry and that he decided to join the company because he was impressed by the pride with which the drug safety staff members whom he met during the internship all engaged in their work. Since joining the Company, Ueda has been working with oncology drugs as a member of the Drug Safety Division. “Our drug safety team is involved from the clinical study phase of candidate drugs. If any adverse drug reactions, such as ones with frequent onset or ones that are serious when they do occur, are found from the clinical trial data collected, adverse drug reaction information will be included in the package insert and guidebooks for patients and healthcare professionals.”

After the release of the drug, we collect from broad sources information on adverse drug reactions in patients that had not been revealed in the clinical trial phase and evaluate and analyze the aggregated data. If a strong causal relationship between the adverse drug reaction and the drug concerned is determined, it is Ueda’s job as a drug safety staff member to add that information to the package insert and guidebook. ‘To clarify that causal relationship, we need to understand the mechanism of action of the drug, which is why we definitely need to acquire pharmaceutical expertise as well. Because I am also in charge of products developed by Roche, I have many opportunities to exchange information online with our overseas colleagues, so my job also requires English communication skills. The standards required by my job are high, but that is what makes it worth taking on the challenge. I am constantly striving to hone my skills.’

Work that gives a great sense of helping patients.

Ueda says that when he realizes that the information he has disseminated has been of benefit is the moment that he feels the greatest sense of reward in his work. ‘I am always happy when I receive feedback that our guidebooks for patients and healthcare professionals have proved useful. Also, when we receive reports that, for example, children with pediatric cancers are now able to do things that they were previously unable to do as a result of using our drugs correctly, I feel great joy in being involved in pharmaceuticals.’ Ueda is enthusiastic about making use of his ability to devise strategies for drug safety of higher quality. ‘What information do patients and healthcare professionals really need? As we are not actually the ones that need it, we can’t know how they really feel. That’s why I want to create systems that use digital technologies, such as AI, that will enable us to provide the kind of information that is truly needed in more appropriate ways, by finding out their true feelings through interviews and other methods.’

Ueda says that there are certain fields in which he can help patients just because he is involved in drug safety work. ‘Some cancer patients opt not to use oncology drugs because they are concerned about a decline in their quality of life due to adverse drug reactions such as hair loss. Although that choice itself should be respected, there are cases in which they are too afraid of that negative image, even though that adverse drug reaction might occur in only one in several dozen patients. As a result of that fear, they might lose their lives even though they could have been saved if those drugs had been used. I feel terribly sorry when I come across such situations. If we create an environment in which we provide drug safety information correctly, and patients can make treatment choices based on the correct information, we may be able to reduce the number of such patients as much as possible. This really is a job that has great meaning, and I hope that people who want to work in the pharmaceutical industry will give it their attention.’

*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.


  • Like
  • Post
  • LINE it!
  • E-mail
Back to top