Amidst COVID-19, Mental Health Leaders, Policymakers Explore Innovations and Policy Solutions to Strengthen Access to Care for People Living with Serious Mental Illness

WASHINGTON, DC – May 12, 2021 – Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Otsuka), a global leader in developing solutions to meet unmet mental health needs, today hosted its third-annual Advancing Mental Health Policy: BetterTogether Forum. This live, virtual event brought together more than 300 elected officials, thought leaders and stakeholders from across the mental health community to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on people living with mental illness and policies for strengthening equitable access to behavioral health care.

Participants also focused on technological and policy innovations that have propelled the nation’s behavioral health response to the pandemic. The virtual event was headlined by Nina Vasan, MD, MBA, chief medical officer of Real and founder and executive director of Brainstorm: The Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation, Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08), along with health policy leaders representing a diverse cross-section of the mental health and technology communities.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this event. The event’s discussions are so important to have during this time in our country,” said Dr. Vasan. “Starting these conversations help us examine areas where we can innovate and truly start the process of making an impact in the mental health care community.”

Presenters, representing organizations including the ACT | The App Association, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Psychiatric Association, Health Leadership Council, National Alliance of Mental Illness, and others, discussed two critical areas of policy progress and innovation: technology-enabled access to care and mental health crisis response.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on people living with mental illness. Millions of Americans are suffering under the strain of social isolation, loss of income, grief and fear,” said Kabir Nath, president and CEO, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. “Despite the many challenges the pandemic has wrought, it has recommitted our nation’s leaders to the cause of strengthening access to mental health care – and spurred adoption of new technologies. As a global company dedicated to the cause of innovating mental health treatments, we are pleased to host the Advancing Mental Health Policy Forum. We hope it will spur a vital, national conversation and build a long-term commitment to equitable, accessible mental health care for all.”

A virtual reception recognized Senator Bill Cassidy (Louisiana), Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) and Governor Mike DeWine (Ohio) for their bipartisan commitment to supporting access to mental health care and the needs of those suffering from mental illness amidst the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Cassidy, Representative Watson Coleman and Governor DeWine were presented with Otsuka’s BetterTogether Award, which recognizes policymakers from both sides of the aisle for their leadership in advancing legislation in support of people living with serious mental illness.

About Otsuka

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. 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 to meet unmet medical needs and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health.

In pharmaceuticals, Otsuka is a leader in the challenging areas of mental, renal, and cardiovascular health and has additional research programs in oncology and 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 two companies’ 1,700 employees in the U.S. develop and commercialize medicines in the areas of mental health, nephrology, and cardiology, using cutting-edge technology to address unmet healthcare needs.

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 47,000 people worldwide and had consolidated sales of approximately USD 13.3 billion in 2020.

All Otsuka stories start by taking the road less traveled. Learn more about Otsuka in the U.S. at www.otsuka-us.com and connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter at @OtsukaUS. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.’s global website is accessible at 
www.otsuka.co.jp/en/.