Development and Improvement of Dosage Forms

Development of patient-friendly dosage forms

Development of patient-friendly dosage forms

With the determination to support the safety and security of patients with medicines that are easy to take and use, we continue to develop patient-friendly dosage forms, making full use of the drug formulation technologies we have cultivated over the years. To date, we have developed and launched oral dispersing (OD) tablets for anticoagulants and nebulizer formulations of anti-influenza agents as dosage forms that are easy for patients to take. We have also improved convenience by launching generic products with innovations in drug formulation and packaging.

Aiming for Safe and Secure Medication among Patients

With the aim of contributing to a society where patients with osteoporosis can live without becoming bedridden by improving the rate of continued treatment for osteoporosis, which is considered to exhibit a relatively low rate of continued treatment due to lack of obvious symptoms, we support continued treatment by providing a “card and sticker notifying the time of dosing” and “support pocketbook” and creating a registration system for notifying the next scheduled date of dosing via mail or e-mail. The number of patients registered with the system is approximately 150,000 and with the rate of continued treatment reaching approximately 90% for 12-month treatments and approximately 80% for 18-month treatments, this system has been helping many patients to continue to receive osteoporosis treatment.
For patients who need to take inhalants, we provide a special whistle to medical institutions to check the strength needed to inhale the medicine. This is aimed at supporting healthcare professionals with patient compliance instructions and mitigating the fear of taking medicine among patients. The whistle is well received especially by parents with small children in creating a sense of security.
In addition, in order to prevent medication errors and improve the identifiability of medicine among patients, we provide formulations with names in katakana on both sides and also oral dispersing (OD) tablets that melt quickly without water.
We will strive to contribute to providing support for safety and security to patients taking medicine by enhancing a support system for patients to receive treatment with a sense of security and devising formulation, labeling and packaging schemes.

Contribution to Patients through DX Initiatives

DTx* with the will to provide personalized healthcare solutions that closely align with the life journey of each patient and individual. We are continuously surveying the challenges and needs of patients to reflect them in our DTx development, and are aiming to use DTx to fill in the gaps in patient treatment, including when they are at home, and to help them improve their physical, mental, and social well-being. As a first step, we are working to develop DTx in the field of oncology toward obtaining medical device approvals and insurance coverage as early as possible.

* We define DTx as software solutions that have evidence-based therapeutic capabilities in providing medical interventions directly to patients to prevent, manage, or treat a medical disorder or disease, and are developed to be reviewed and approved by regulatory bodies as a medical device (manufacturing and marketing approval)

Cooperation with Patient Groups

Cooperation with Patient Groups

In order to reduce the burden on patients participating in clinical trials and to help them understand the trial more accurately, we have introduced patient-reported outcomes (ePRO) and video explanations of consent documents (eConsent) by using digital technologies in several clinical trials. Such new technologies are also working to reduce the number of visits and ensure sufficient time for patients to understand the clinical trial. In addition, we are taking on new initiatives to make it more comfortable for patients to participate in clinical trials, such as reflecting the opinions and thoughts of patients in the clinical trial-related materials we provide.

Activities of Nurture Medicines

Medical Affairs promotes activities that generate new information about our products and nurture medicines.
Based on our medical and scientific expertise, we are committed to generating new evidence about our products by interacting with healthcare professionals, identifying clinical questions (questions related to drug usage from patients or healthcare professionals), and designing studies and engaging in clinical research to clarify these questions, while ensuring fairness, independence , and transparency. The results of our clinical research are actively disseminated through presentations at domestic and international conferences and publication in medical papers. Committed to our daily activities, we aim to be a partner that delivers healthcare solutions for clinical questions to patients and their families, healthcare professionals, and stakeholders around the world by generating and disseminating high-value evidence for the medicines the Daiichi Sankyo Group delivers to the world.

Communication with Patients

We will create medicines that meet patients' needs! To accomplish our hope, the Japan R&D Division has planned and provided bedside visits at hospitals and lectures to have the opportunities of direct communication with patients and healthcare professionals as part of the COMPASS (“Compassion for Patients” Strategy) activities.

In fiscal 2019, we held two lectures and launched a new initiative, in addition to the ongoing bedside visits. The first lecture was delivered by Dr. Katsuya Akimoto, who has been engaged in pharmacokinetic research at Daiichi Sankyo and has continued to work while receiving cancer treatment. Dr. Akimoto talked about how he has dealt with the disease and treatment, and his experience in actively involving himself in determining his own treatment plan. The second lecture titled “The Bright and Dark Sides of Medical Advancement — Lessons Learned from Children Regarding the Truth Hidden under the Armor of a ‘Patient,’” co-organized with SHIFT (Strategic Consortium for Health Innovation and Future Transformation), was delivered by Mr. Masakazu Soejima (Associate Professor at Showa University). Mr. Soejima, who is a homeroom teacher in hospital classes, has taught more than 1500 children struggling against serious diseases and had been a model of a character in the TV program 'Red-nosed Teacher'. While more and more lives have been saved by advances in medical technology, the number of children who cannot be apart from ventilators, for example, has doubled. Therefore, it has greatly become important to create an environment where these children can live their own lives, even with their illnesses. Children with diseases struggle with different conflicts, pretending not being afraid of surgery or enduring loneliness so as not to perplex their parents, brothers and sisters, and teachers. Mr. Soejima explained, in a dialogue with the participants, that some children cannot unarm their emotions and are unable to convey their feelings to their parents or doctors. He also introduced his efforts to help children who had almost lost their sense of self-esteem feel happy to have been born into this world. Positive and sympathetic feedbacks were received from the participants, including those who said that they were helped to realize that medicines were not the only approach for fighting illnesses, and others who expressed their intention to stay motivated at work by focusing on patients and their families as the ultimate goal for treatment, rather than the illness itself.
As a new initiative, we held the ‘DS Round Table Talking,’ on a pilot basis, where patients and our employees could sit around a table and talk over tea. We planned this event because we thought that, it would be necessary to have an environment where they can have a relaxed conversation in close proximity in order to find out the true feelings of patients about their diseases and treatments, and in order for the patients to enhance their understanding of pharmaceutical companies’ R&D efforts. The patients told us that this is a good opportunity to discuss issues related to disease and to convey the value of medicine to employees of pharmaceutical company. An internal participant also said that the event was a great chance for employees to feel the meaning of the corporate slogan, “Passion for Innovation. Compassion for Patients.”
In fiscal 2020, it may be difficult to provide opportunities to meet patients in person because of COVID-19. Now more than ever, however, is the time for us to look back on our past activities, enhance each Daiichi Sankyo employee’s understanding of patients and medical practice, and undertake initiatives that lead to discovery of medicines that can meet the needs of patients. 

Related Content on Initiatives toward Patient Centricity.