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Listening to Patients’ Voices
Something That We Can Do As MRs

Sales Department Tokatsu Group
Specialty Care Sales Division 2
Takuma Mizuno

Inspired by my grandfather’s illness to take an unprecedented path

Through my volunteering experience in college, I developed a vague aspiration to work in an industry where I could help others. However, I hadn’t thought of working in healthcare or pharmaceutical industries back then as I was majoring in economics. Around that time, my grandfather was diagnosed with tongue cancer. His cancer rapidly progressed, and I was full of regret that we couldn’t have discovered his cancer earlier. At the same time, I wanted to bring hope to people in similar situations and help increase the time they had to spend with their loved ones. Such aspirations led me to choose a career as an MR in the healthcare industry.

What appealed to me the most about Astellas is that the company clearly states that it will continue to focus on new drug development. Since my initial reason for choosing the pharmaceutical industry was my grandfather’s cancer, I was also drawn to the fact that Astellas handles oncology products and that the company is committed to continuously developing them.
It was challenging to gather information on MR as most of my peers from the economics department went into the finance or infrastructure industries, or became public employees. In addition, none of my college seniors who majored in economics went into the healthcare or pharmaceutical industry, let alone pursued a career as an MR. Despite such circumstances, I was able to make every effort to follow my passion because Astellas’ VISION and Astellas Way resonated with me.

Our growth supported by a comprehensive system and reliable senior colleagues

When I joined Astellas as an MR, I first completed the 6-month introductory training to prepare for the MR accreditation exam in December. Taking the lectures with my colleagues was just like going to school. We studied and participated in output training on the human body, diseases, treatments, laws and regulations in the pharmaceutical industry, and our company’s products. We also did group work where we split into groups of six with at least one colleague with a pharmacy background in each group, so we were able to support each other in terms of knowledge. I was worried about my lack of knowledge as I’m originally from a liberal arts background, but I was able to shake off my concern through training and was able to pass the exam as well.

The Fresh Trainer (FT) system was especially helpful for my development after starting the actual job. The senior staff member to whom I was assigned not only guided me through my duties but was also very supportive and had high hopes for me at all times. I feel that my positive efforts to meet those expectations led to my growth as an MR.
In addition, my branch office at the time held numerous social events for various groups, such as junior and senior employees and staff members from other departments, which encouraged us to think about our career development from early on. These kinds of initiatives are common at Astellas, and participating in these events made me want to improve my ability to self-innovate and actively take on challenges to advance my career.

So many programs are available at Astellas that even experienced employees can utilize to improve their skills and knowledge. For example, the website for training videos. I’ve been actively watching these videos in my spare time ever since I started, as it contains useful content such as the latest information on products and medical conditions and the expertise of MRs across the country. By applying the knowledge I acquired from these videos to actual practice, I could also develop my own know-how.

Astellas also offers a wide range of programs that enable self-improvement for business people, such as programs for English, management, marketing, presentation, leadership theory, and business development, which is one of the factors that attracted me to joining Astellas. Many of my senior colleagues are succeeding in their job by utilizing the skills they gained through these programs. I will definitely continue to make use of these programs in the future as well.

Understanding patients through their doctors

I’m currently assigned to the Chiba Tokatsu Group within the Sales Department and have been working in the field of specialty care since April 2022. My area has expanded and my day-to-day duties involve speaking with various healthcare professionals. I always try to take a patient-oriented approach when providing information and suggestions for prescriptions by doing my best to understand the patients even if we don’t interact with them directly. Even if the data indicate favorable results for the disease, there are cases where patients don’t want a prescription due to prognosis or financial issues, or cases where it’s better to use cheaper drugs and continue to monitor the patient even if the medication is not as strong. As an MR, we collect this kind of information and patient responses through doctors and bring them back to our company. Although some of the difficulties differ from those of general sales work, I believe that overcoming these challenges will lead to better prescription recommendations for the next patient.

Employees at Astellas share the same VISION and work towards achieving this goal each day. During this process, I think you’ll be able to encounter something that will significantly impact you, such as people, knowledge, skills, a sense of purpose or a way of thinking. To me, gaining a position at Astellas wasn’t the goal, but just the beginning. I can say without a doubt that Astellas offers the best environment for people who learn, act, and take on challenges proactively. I advise you to try and visualize how it’ll be working here and what you want to achieve, and come to your own decision.

Sales department introduction