Lulu to the Rescue?

June, 9, 2020 | 4 Comments


  1. “Your kokoro is your soul, and the notion that it can catch cold (kokoro no kaze) was introduced to Japan by the pharmaceutical industry” The New York Times Magazine

    Editorial Note: By 2002 GlaxoSmithKline had done 3 studies in children who were depressed and described all three to FDA as negative. As an old post on Bob Fiddaman’s blog reproduced here outlines, several years later they undertook another study in children in Japan.

    Study 329 in Japan

    Friday, May 21, 2010


    Dear GSK,

    ‘ In other words, it is important to identify patients with the indications for aggressive drug therapy as completely as possible’

    Did Antidepressants Depress Japan?

    By Kathryn Schulz

    Aug. 22, 2004

    Over the past five years, according to the Japanese Bookstore Association, 177 books about depression have been published, compared with a mere 27 from 1990 to 1995. Earlier this month, the country’s most popular online bulletin board, Channel 2, carried 713 conversation threads about depression — more than music (582) or food (691) and almost as many as romance (716).

    The next year, GlaxoSmithKline — maker of the antidepressant Paxil — followed Meiji into the market. Koji Nakagawa, GlaxoSmithKline’s product manager for Paxil, explained: ”When other pharmaceutical companies were giving up on developing antidepressants in Japan, we went ahead for a very simple reason: the successful marketing in the United States and Europe.”

    Direct-to-consumer drug advertising is illegal in Japan, so the company relied on educational campaigns targeting mild depression. As Nakagawa put it: ”People didn’t know they were suffering from a disease. We felt it was important to reach out to them.” So the company formulated a tripartite message: ”Depression is a disease that anyone can get. It can be cured by medicine. Early detection is important.”

    The psychiatrist Yutaka Ono advocates raising awareness about depression, but GlaxoSmithKline’s marketing made him uncomfortable: ”They ran a very intense campaign about mild depression where a beautiful young lady comes out all smiles and says, ‘I went to a doctor and now I’m happy.’ You know, depression is not that easy. And if it is that easy, it might not be depression.”

    Behind everything they do is a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better and live longer. And at the heart of that are values and expectations that help define the firm’s culture—allowing the GSK team to deliver extraordinary things for their patients and consumers.

    Children of the Cure could be the real winner in Japan, and do ‘extraordinary things’ …

Leave a Reply