Pharmaceuticals and sustainability

Educating employees

Training in drug safety

We strictly adhere to specific processes to ensure that our pharmaceutical business activities are always carried out in a responsible and appropriate way. We provide e-learning to help employees understand the importance of drug safety and quality assurance. All of the employees in our pharmaceutical business complete a mandatory e-learning course every year.

Employees based at JT’s Central Pharmaceutical Research Institute regularly attend educational programs in areas such as ethics, animal experiments, managing chemical substances, and environmental management. This helps to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

R&D that ensures ethical integrity

Our research activities are carried out in an ethical manner and comply with all relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards.

We have established in-house regulations on animal experiments based on government legislation. Our Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee ensures that we follow the ‘3R’ concept: Replacing laboratory animals with other research materials where possible; Reducing the number of animals used; and Refining experiments to prevent animals from suffering unnecessary pain and distress. We carry out periodic in-house inspections and assessments to ensure that we comply with regulations. Our practices are accredited by the Japan Health Sciences Foundation, an external authority which lists all accredited facilities on its website.

When utilizing human tissue samples, our Ethical Review Committee, which follows the relevant Japanese guidelines and consists of both internal and external members, examines the ethical justification and scientific validity of the research.

Our chemical management system covers every aspect of the chemical handling process, from the moment we take delivery of the chemicals, through to their storage, use, and eventual disposal. It also provides employees with vital information, such as how much remains of the chemical, and the most up-to-date safety data sheet for each substance.

Employees are regularly made aware of chemical safety risks. Torii Pharmaceutical separates chemicals into categories requiring different levels of management, and has specific rules and procedures according to the characteristics and safety risks of each category of chemicals.

We publish quarterly clinical development status updates on our website. In 2019, we spent 33.2 billion Yen in our R&D activities.

Quality assurance of pharmaceutical products production

Regular inspections of production methods

We have developed our own guidelines on how to conduct annual inspections to ensure that our production methods fully comply with government recommendations.
We began implementing these inspections in selected factories in 2017 and no issues were identified.

Since 2018, we have been steadily expanding the scope and now it covers 100% of our own factories* and contracted factories. We will continue to operate these guidelines.

  • *In 2020, the JT Group will stop manufacturing operations of its pharmaceutical products in its own facilities and outsource all of them to contracted factories.

Responsible promotion of drugs

We have our own standard on the ethical promotion of prescription drugs, based on the guidelines on sales information provision activities by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Medical Representatives (MRs) of our subsidiary company Torii Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. provide and gather information on pharmaceutical drugs to/from medical professionals appropriately, and regularly participate in training programs to ensure adherence to these guidelines. Through internal communication, we provide relevant and detailed information to our MRs to keep them up to date with the latest promotional guidelines.

We also conduct training sessions, which include case studies of violations that have occurred in Japan and important points to consider when providing lectures for medical professionals.

Transparency of partnerships

In order to develop more effective drugs, we build partnerships with research institutes, universities, and medical institutions. When we make financial contributions to our partners, we strive to ensure transparency by disclosing these payments on our website.

Case studies

Case study

For the Patients Project

  • We have an internal educational activity to foster employees’ ethical awareness and sense of responsibility towards saving patients.

    We offer this program continuously, both internally and externally, by engaging in dialogue with medical experts. Every year, around 10 employees participate in this program as a facilitator and learn more about patients’ medical needs.

    Their knowledge and findings will then be shared across our business operations through reporting sessions and/or internal communication.

Case study

Patient input informs clinical development

  • As part of our ongoing clinical development efforts, we gathered input from patients in the form of a ‘patient’s voice’ program, and in the spirit of continuously improving the patient experience. We conducted a survey among patients who had participated in our clinical drug trials* to measure their satisfaction. In 2019, approximately 150 patients agreed to take part in the survey.

    The survey consisted of a face-to-face interview and a questionnaire. The interview was designed to evaluate the patient experience and gauge how patients felt during the clinical trials. For example, we asked about the quality of guidance delivered at the beginning of the trial and about the usability of any patient tools they had used, e.g. informed consent form and patient reported outcomes. The questionnaire asked about their expectations of the medical experts in charge of the trials and what information they had needed or requested before the trial started.

    We want our clinical trials to be developed in line with patient feedback; this will make it easier and more satisfactory for patients who are interested in clinical trials to confidently take part.

  • * Clinical trials
    Tests performed on humans at the final stage of pharmaceutical development in order to collect and/or assess data concerning the results of a clinical study, including data on efficacy and safety. Human clinical trials are mandatory for 'candidate drugs' to be approved by governments.