Panel of Noted Mental Health Experts, Policy Leaders and Advocates Review Progress, Identify Opportunities to Shape Future Policy to Advance Care Over the Next Decade and Beyond
WASHINGTON, DC – November 28, 2018 – Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Otsuka), a global leader in developing solutions to meet unmet mental health needs, today hosted the Advancing Mental Health Policy Forum to celebrate and commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, a federal law protecting people who receive mental health or addiction treatment.
The event, held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, featured Patrick J. Kennedy, mental health advocate and former Congressman, along with more than 10 health policy experts, including representatives from The American Psychiatric Association, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Alliance on Mental Illness and other leading government, advocacy and policy institutions. Highlights included a series of interactive panel discussions focusing on three main themes: fulfilling parity, care coordination and community supports, and incentivizing quality care.
“Establishing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was critically important in securing equal access to care for those with mental health and substance use disorders,” noted Patrick J. Kennedy, former Congressman (D-RI) and founder of The Kennedy Forum. “Today’s event honored the legacy of this law while identifying ways to advance policies that help patients and their families get the care they need and deserve.”
During a reception preceding the forum, Otsuka recognized Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) for their bipartisan commitment to supporting people suffering from mental illness, specifically their successful efforts to introduce the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (H.R.6082) which aligns 42 CFR Part 2 with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Representatives Mullin and Blumenauer were presented with Otsuka’s inaugural BetterTogether Congressional Award, which recognizes policymakers from both sides of the aisle for their collaborative efforts to advance legislation in support of people with mental illness.
“We are proud to host the Advancing Mental Health Policy Forum to shine a bright light on the importance of effectively treating and improving care for people living with mental illness,” said Kabir Nath, president and CEO, Otsuka North America Pharmaceutical Business, Otsuka America, Inc. “As a global leader in mental health treatments, we understand the challenges that patients, caregivers and healthcare providers may face in ensuring access to the right therapies and supports. As the treatment landscape continues to evolve, we must work proactively together to address unmet needs and support policies that maximize access to mental health treatment and services.”
About the Mental Health Parity Act
The Mental Health Parity Act requires most insurers to cover illnesses of the brain, such as depression or addiction, no more restrictively than how they cover illnesses of the body, such as diabetes or cancer.
About Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: “Otsuka-people creating new products for better health worldwide.” Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures and markets innovative products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products for the treatment of diseases and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health.
In pharmaceuticals, Otsuka is a leader in the challenging area of mental health and has research programs on several under-addressed diseases including tuberculosis, a significant global public health issue. These commitments illustrate how Otsuka is a “big venture” company at heart, applying a youthful spirit of creativity in everything it does.
Otsuka established a presence in the U.S. in 1973 and today its U.S. affiliates include Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. (OPDC) and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI). These companies’ 1,800 employees in the U.S. develop and commercialize medicines in mental health, oncology, cardio-renal and nephrology, using cutting-edge technology to address unmet healthcare needs. Otsuka’s most recently approved product in the U.S. is indicated for the treatment of adults with schizophrenia and as an adjunctive therapy to antidepressant medications for adults with major depressive disorder. In the medical device field, Otsuka markets a urea breath test used to detect H. pylori infection in the digestive tract.
OPDC and OAPI are indirect subsidiaries of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd. headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The Otsuka group of companies employed 46,000 people worldwide and had consolidated sales of approximately USD 11.1 billion in 2017.
All Otsuka stories start by taking the road less travelled. Learn more about Otsuka in the U.S. at and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter at @OtsukaUS. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.’s global website is accessible at

About The Kennedy Forum
Founded in 2013 by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), The Kennedy Forum leads a national dialogue on transforming the health care system by uniting mental health advocates, business leaders, and government agencies around a common set of principles, including full implementation of the Federal Parity Law. Launched in celebration of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of the landmark Community Mental Health Act, the nonprofit aims to achieve health equity by advancing evidence-based practices, policies, and programming for the treatment of mental health and addiction. The Kennedy Forum’s “Don’t Deny Me” campaign empowers patients and their loved ones to report illegal insurance denials of mental health and addiction treatment, and fight for their parity rights. To learn more about The Kennedy Forum and donate, please visit