Innovation in access to medicine reaches new heights | Takeda Stories 


Innovation in access reaches new heights

May 2, 2024

“The moment the medicines reached their destination brought both relief and real emotion.”

Takehiro Hirano is describing his feelings about a project he led as manager of Regional Access Strategy for the Japan Pharma Business Unit (JPBU). He wanted to find a way to transport our life-transforming medicines to people living on remote islands of Japan.

People on those islands often need to take a ferry to access medical facilities and then travel back home - a trip that can be a burden both physically and financially.

Takehiro Hirano

Takehiro Hirano, manager of Regional Access Strategy  Japan Pharma Business Unit (JPBU) 

So Takehiro started looking into ways to address that burden, building on our legacy of innovation in service of supporting patients and their unmet needs. It was then that he met Mitsutoshi Nobuta, who works in drone services at ANA, an airline company. What resulted was a pilot program in the Gotō Islands, in Nagasaki Prefecture, conducted in partnership with ANA. Nagasaki University faculty such as Professor Takahiro Maeda also lent expertise to the program. With the support of various stakeholders, the drones were able to successfully deliver the medicines to patients.
Kuniaki Nagashima

Kuniaki Nagashima, head of Regional Access Strategy  Japan Pharma Business Unit (JPBU) 

Kuniaki Nagashima, head of Regional Access Strategy for JPBU adds that “people tend to think that pharmaceutical companies are engaged solely in the world of researching and developing pharmaceuticals for patients. But if regional medical care fails, our medicines don’t reach patients. So we aim to build and support a sustainable healthcare delivery system. As a company engaged in the business of life, I believe this is our mission.”