MedPeer operates in the medical care and healthcare fields. It has two core segments: the Doctor Platform segment, which is centered on MedPeer, a social media platform for physicians (77.6% of sales and 87.2% of operating profit in FY09/21), and the Healthcare Solutions segment, which focuses on health promotion and disease prevention (25.8% of sales and 17.0% of operating profit in FY09/21). In the past three fiscal years through FY09/21, the company’s total sales grew at a CAGR of 50.1% to JPY7.4bn and operating profit, at a CAGR of 69.3% to JPY1.8bn. The company reported an OPM of 24.0% in FY09/21 (+3.2pp YoY).
In the Doctor Platform segment, the company runs the MedPeer website, a doctors-only membership community where physicians can share reviews of drugs and other medical information. The website has a membership of over 140,000 physicians of various specialties. This number accounts for approximately 40% of Japan’s 300,000 physicians. The site also serves as a knowledge management tool, which gathers the knowledge and experience of doctors on the ground into a collective medical intelligence*. The company generates revenue from pharmaceutical companies by offering access to the accumulated information and by providing ad placement opportunities on the MedPeer site.
It generates additional revenue by leveraging its collective medical intelligence to support pharmaceutical companies in their planning, execution, and management of marketing strategies, as well as creating content for pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers (subsidiary COLBO Co., Ltd.). Other sources of revenue include research outsourcing services, such as online physician surveys on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, and a job information service referring doctors using the site to physician placement agencies. The company refers to these services as its Collective Intelligence Platform. The company receives compensation associated with the Collective Intelligence Platform from clients such as pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Japan Inc. (NYSE, PFE) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE Prime: 4502).
In addition to the elements above, the company is expanding sales of kakari (a support service within the company’s Doctor Platform segment that helps pharmacies become family pharmacies) through a business alliance with Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TSE : 4541). Furthermore, the company launched kakari for Clinic through Nichi-Med, Inc., a joint venture formed in collaboration with Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical, in September 2020. Nichi-Med runs the marketing, customer support, and other operations of kakari for Clinic. The company refers to these two services as its Primary Care Platform. It receives compensation for these services from family pharmacies and clinics.
The company acquires earnings in its Healthcare Solutions segment from corporations and health insurance associations (effectively a B2B2C business model). Subsidiary Mediplat Inc. is operating the company’s Industrial Health Support platform (comprising “first call,” which provides online medical consultations with doctors through online chat and videoconferencing) and, through collaboration with companies such as Sugi Pharmacy Co., Ltd. and Nikkei, its Lifelog platform. Through first call (JPY20,000–JPY120,000 or more per month based on plan and size of workforce), the company concludes agreements with companies and health insurance associations (871 agreements as of September 30, 2021), providing corporate employees with online medical consultations, online interviews with industrial physicians, stress checks, and examination management.
Meanwhile, subsidiary FitsPlus Inc. forms agreements with health insurance associations and dispenses specified health guidance services either by dispatching dieticians from its own network to meet with association employees and their dependents on site at their offices or by holding face-to-face interviews using information and communication technology.
These services fall under the Preventive Healthcare Platform.
According to MedPeer, it is currently the only company operating in both the healthcare and medical care fields. Its business is doctor-centered, whereas rival online medical platforms tend to be supplier (pharmaceutical companies)-oriented. The company was established in December 2004 and listed on TSE Mothers in June 2014. Later, in September 2020, it moved to the First Section of the TSE. The company had about 272 employees (consolidated basis) as of end-September 2021.
FY09/21 results: sales were JPY7.4bn (+40.0% YoY), operating profit was JPY1.8bn (+61.5% YoY), recurring profit was JPY1.8bn (+60.3% YoY), and net income attributable to owners of the parent was JPY1.3bn (+78.2% YoY).
The company’s FY09/22 forecast calls for sales of JPY10.5bn (+41.2% YoY), operating profit of JPY2.5bn (+40.1% YoY), recurring profit of JPY2.5bn (+39.1% YoY), and net income attributable to owners of the parent of JPY1.8bn (+36.8% YoY).
MedPeer has not been announcing targets under a medium-term management plan. However, the company stated that it would aim for FY09/23 sales of JPY15.0bn when announcing Q3 FY09/20 results. The company previously indicated that it would aim for market capitalization of over JPY50.0bn in 2020, which it has already achieved. MedPeer’s market capitalization exceeded JPY100bn by end-September 30, 2020 but was JPY69.1bn as of December 17, 2021.
The main growth drivers are three platforms: Collective Intelligence Platform business (Doctor Platform segment), which is primarily supported by a foundation of member doctors and a client base of pharmaceutical companies; the Preventive Healthcare Platform business (Healthcare Solutions segment); and the Primary Care Platform segment (Doctor Platform segment; launched in Q3 FY09/19). The company aims to establish a fourth earnings pillar in the nursing care business. MedPeer forecasts sales of JPY15.0bn in FY09/23 (versus FY09/21 sales of JPY7.4bn) and looks to achieve this by further enhancing the mainstay Collective Intelligence Platform business while also expanding utilization of services from the other three businesses, thereby accelerating growth from FY09/22.
MedPeer’s strengths include the aggregation of physicians’ review data, being a pioneer of integrated medical and health platforms, and specialized professional content, because the data is supplied by doctors and other health professionals. Weaknesses include not being the first platform in either the medical or health field, low brand recognition among consumers (which the company is addressing through collaborations with Sugi Pharmacy and Nikkei, but has still not been fully established), and, despite rapid growth, its small scale (the company is not in an advantageous position in terms of economy of scale and its ability to negotiate with major pharmaceutical companies).
|Gross profit margin||83.4%||86.1%||88.7%||85.6%||77.3%||75.5%||74.2%||69.5%||66.0%||65.3%|
|Operating profit margin||7.0%||15.5%||27.6%||13.1%||5.9%||5.3%||16.7%||18.3%||20.8%||24.0%||23.8%|
|Recurring profit margin||6.9%||15.4%||25.6%||13.1%||5.3%||4.2%||17.3%||18.2%||21.3%||24.4%||24.0%|
|Per-share data (JPY)|
|Shares issued (year-end)||14,670,000||14,670,000||16,822,000||16,862,000||17,333,900||17,468,900||18,386,100||19,762,900||21,743,100||21,574,190||-|
|EPS (fully diluted)||-||-||9.5||3.9||1.3||-||11.3||19.8||32.7||56.3||-|
|Dividend per share||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Book value per share||4.3||12.0||62.8||67.0||69.7||46.6||89.1||164.1||248.8||310.5||-|
|Balance sheet (JPYmn)|
|Cash and cash equivalents||66||121||951||946||850||946||1,824||3,129||4,703||5,701|
|Total current assets||147||318||1,229||1,170||1,140||1,354||2,332||3,662||6,103||7,243|
|Tangible fixed assets||5||4||4||55||48||42||42||62||104||197|
|Investments and other assets||13||14||54||57||339||89||120||153||471||619|
|Total current liabilities||95||134||231||178||217||534||648||497||1,306||1,337|
|Total fixed liabilities||7||25||-||124||316||251||153||98||239||221|
|Total liabilities and net assets||166||336||1,288||1,447||1,754||1,611||2,570||4,010||7,127||8,538|
|Total interest-bearing debt||17||48||-||140||377||371||291||152||203||136|
|Cash flow statement (JPYmn)|
|Cash flows from operating activities||12||28||212||90||4||179||344||374||930||1,361|
|Cash flows from investing activities||-18||-3||-44||-253||-368||-52||-114||-139||-469||-345|
|Cash flows from financing activities||-10||31||662||158||258||-46||648||1,070||1,111||-15|
|Segment sales and profit||FY09/12||FY09/13||FY09/14||FY09/15||FY09/16||FY09/17||FY09/18||FY09/19||FY09/20||FY09/21||FY09/22|
|% of total||100.0%||100.0%||100.0%||100.0%||100.0%||81.6%||81.6%||75.0%||74.2%||77.6%||78.1%|
|Collective medical intelligence service||244||493||882||961||882||na||na||na||na||na||na|
|% of total||75.2%||85.8%||92.0%||92.4%||90.6%||na||na||na||na||na||na|
|Physician job listing service||81||81||76||79||92||na||na||na||na||na||na|
|% of total||25.0%||14.1%||8.0%||7.6%||9.4%||na||na||na||na||na||na|
|% of total||-||-||-||-||-||18.4%||18.4%||25.0%||25.8%||22.4%||22.9%|
|Operating profit margin||7.0%||15.5%||27.6%||13.1%||5.9%||5.3%||16.7%||18.3%||20.8%||24.0%||23.8%|
|% of total||100.0%||100.0%||100.0%||100.0%||na||172.0%||109.6%||89.7%||83.0%||87.2%||na|
|Segment profit margin||7.0%||15.5%||27.6%||13.1%||na||27.1%||33.1%||35.9%||33.7%||34.1%||na|
|% of total||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||10.3%||17.0%||12.8%||na|
|Segment profit margin||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||12.4%||19.8%||17.4%||na|
|Segment profit adjustments||0||0||0||0||na||-118||-174||-356||-495||-474||na|
|By main customers|
|Pfizer Japan Inc.||42||101||126||130||114||na||na||-||-||-|
|% of total||13.1%||17.6%||13.2%||12.5%||11.7%||-||-||-||-||-|
|Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.||na||na||na||na||100||158||269||-||-||-|
|% of total||-||-||-||-||10.3%||10.1%||12.2%||-||-||-|
|Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.||5||71||120||116||na||na||na||-||-||-|
|% of total||1.5%||12.4%||12.5%||11.2%||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|% of total||7.6%||10.6%||7.6%||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|% of total||11.0%||8.4%||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
On May 12, 2022, MedPeer, Inc. announced that it had entered into an agreement to make Cloud Clinic Co., Ltd. a wholly owned subsidiary via a simplified share exchange. Under the agreement, signed on May 12, 2022, the share exchange is scheduled to take place on July 1, 2022.
Purpose of acquisition via share exchange
Cloud Clinic Co., Ltd. is an outsourcing service provider specializing in administrative tasks related to home healthcare. Strengths in unique services specializing in home medical care by highly specialized staff, Cloud Clinic has built up an impressive track record, having provided visiting healthcare services for cumulative total of more than 200,000 cases. The need for visiting healthcare services has grown in recent years as Japan's elderly population has expanded, and the number of in-home visits performed by healthcare providers is only expected to increase in future years, even after the projected peak in Japan's elderly population around 2040. On the other hand, work-style reforms for doctors has become a pressing issue for Japanese medical institutions and the upper limit will be applied to overtime work of doctors from April 2024, To meet the rising demand for home healthcare and long-term care service as Japan's elderly population grows will require Information and Communication Technology based service and appropriate human resources
In light of this situation, the company expects to be able to develop and provide more complete home medical care related services by combining its own networks and expertise in operating multifaceted businesses in healthcare settings with the strengths of Cloud Clinic, the highly specialized staff and unique services focused on home healthcare. The company intends to further expand its business by creating group synergies.
Following the share exchange, Cloud Clinic will become a wholly owned subsidiary of MedPeer. The acquisition is not expected to have a material impact on consolidated results this fiscal year (FY09/22), but is expected to contribute to MedPeer's sales growth over the medium to long term as Cloud Clinic will fit nicely with MedPeer's strategic growth plans calling for further expansion in the area of in-home healthcare services.
Details of share exchange agreement
MedPeer will acquire Cloud Clinic, making it a wholly owned subsidiary via a simplified share exchange.
Under the agreement, at the time MedPeer acquires all outstanding shares of Cloud Clinic. Cloud Clinic shareholders will be compensated with a cash payment equal to JPY330,000 per Cloud Clinic share. The company also plans to allocate and issue 21,350 shares of its common stock.
On March 22, 2022, MedPeer, Inc. announced that it had reached an agreement with Alfresa Holdings Corporation (TSE1: 2784) to begin exploratory discussions for a joint business to support the digital transformation of medical institutions.
Purpose of starting exploratory discussions for joint business
Regulatory reform and data health planning have accelerated for medical institutions in recent years. Talks about making special measures permanent have progressed with regard to online medical consultations and medication guidance. Special measures for online medical consultations have now been made permanent, and the same is expected for online medication guidance by the end of FY2022. Electronic prescriptions are also scheduled to begin in January 2023. Further, medical institutions are under pressure to take action regarding doctors' work style reforms as a rule limiting overtime hours takes effect in April 2024.
As a result of the above changes, it is hoped that regulatory reform and data health planning will improve Japanese citizens' healthcare experience and healthcare worker's work styles. At the same time, the rapid pace of change is likely to cause various problems. These problems can only be solved by a combination of online solutions that utilize digital technologies and offline solutions that are implemented at contact points with medical institutions and logistics networks.
In this context, MedPeer agreed to engage in a joint business with Alfresa Holdings that combines the strengths of the two companies. Alfresa's strengths lie in physical contact points with healthcare workers and medical institutions, and its logistics networks, while MedPeer excels in its digital technologies and information services for healthcare workers and medical institutions. The company believes that the two companies can combine their management resources to help medical institutions with their digital transformation.
Details of agreement
MedPeer and Alfresa Holdings will explore a joint business harnessing the management resources of the two companies that supports the digital transformation of medical institutions. The two companies may both invest in setting up a joint venture in the process of preparing to develop the joint business. The joint business is scheduled to begin operation around summer 2022.
MedPeer expects the new joint business to have minimal impact on FY09/22 earnings at this point. The company commented that if any new material information emerges, it plans to disclose it without delay.
|(JPYmn)||Q1||Q1–Q2||Q1–Q3||Q1–Q4||Q1||Q1–Q2||Q1–Q3||Q1–Q4||Q1||Q1–Q2||% of Est.||FY Est.|
|Gross profit margin||68.5%||66.0%||65.7%||66.0%||69.7%||67.5%||66.2%||65.3%||62.6%||62.0%|
|Operating profit margin||19.5%||21.0%||20.1%||20.8%||32.3%||29.2%||25.0%||24.0%||23.4%||19.5%||23.8%|
|Recurring profit margin||21.9%||22.0%||20.7%||21.3%||32.9%||29.7%||25.4%||24.4%||23.8%||20.0%||24.0%|
|Gross profit margin||68.5%||64.3%||65.3%||66.7%||69.7%||65.3%||63.1%||62.8%||62.6%||61.3%|
|Operating profit margin||19.5%||22.0%||18.5%||22.5%||32.3%||26.0%||15.5%||21.1%||23.4%||15.2%|
|Recurring profit margin||21.9%||22.1%||18.4%||22.6%||32.9%||26.5%||15.5%||21.5%||23.8%||15.8%|
|% of total||73.5%||74.5%||73.3%||74.2%||83.0%||78.6%||77.6%||77.6%||79.0%||76.6%|
|% of total||26.5%||25.5%||26.7%||25.8%||17.0%||21.4%||22.4%||22.4%||21.0%||23.4%|
|Cost of sales||297||786||1,254||1,805||588||1,235||1,863||2,581||880||1,688|
|(Gross profit margin)||68.5%||66.0%||65.7%||66.0%||69.7%||67.5%||66.2%||65.3%||62.6%||62.0%|
|(Operating profit margin)||19.5%||21.0%||20.1%||20.8%||32.3%||29.2%||25.0%||24.0%||23.4%||19.5%|
|% of total||89.2%||82.6%||80.3%||83.0%||97.5%||90.9%||88.7%||87.2%||91.5%||88.4%|
|(Segment profit margin)||39.6%||34.0%||32.2%||33.7%||45.7%||41.0%||36.0%||34.1%||34.6%||30.7%|
|% of total||10.8%||17.4%||19.7%||17.0%||2.5%||9.1%||11.3%||12.8%||8.5%||11.6%|
|(Segment profit margin)||13.3%||20.9%||21.6%||19.8%||5.7%||15.0%||15.9%||17.4%||12.2%||13.2%|
|% of total||73.5%||75.2%||71.2%||76.1%||83.0%||74.0%||75.5%||77.6%||79.0%||73.9%|
|% of total||26.5%||24.8%||28.8%||23.9%||17.0%||26.0%||24.5%||22.4%||21.0%||26.1%|
|Cost of sales||297||489||468||551||588||647||628||718||880||808|
|(Gross profit margin)||68.5%||64.3%||65.3%||66.7%||69.7%||65.3%||63.1%||62.8%||62.6%||61.3%|
|Operating expenses breakdown|
|Cost of sales and SG&A expenses||758||1,070||1,098||1,281||1,312||1,381||1,435||1,524||1,802||1,771|
|% of sales||80.5%||78.0%||81.5%||77.5%||67.7%||74.0%||84.5%||78.9%||76.6%||84.8%|
|% of sales||38.3%||36.5%||43.0%||38.4%||33.4%||36.3%||41.2%||37.4%||34.8%||41.5%|
|% of sales||8.6%||5.1%||7.1%||7.3%||7.3%||7.6%||9.1%||7.9%||7.4%||9.9%|
|% of sales||32.7%||34.9%||30.4%||31.3%||26.2%||29.5%||33.5%||33.0%||33.8%||32.9%|
|(Operating profit margin)||19.5%||22.0%||18.5%||22.5%||32.3%||26.0%||15.5%||21.1%||23.4%||15.2%|
|% of total||89.2%||77.5%||76.0%||88.4%||97.5%||82.5%||80.8%||82.2%||91.5%||83.9%|
|(Segment profit margin)||39.6%||30.1%||29.1%||36.9%||45.7%||35.5%||24.3%||28.8%||34.6%||26.1%|
|% of total||10.8%||22.5%||24.0%||11.6%||2.5%||17.5%||19.2%||17.8%||8.5%||16.1%|
|(Segment profit margin)||13.3%||26.4%||22.7%||15.4%||5.7%||21.3%||17.7%||21.6%||12.2%||14.2%|
1H FY09/22 results: sales were JPY4.4bn (no YoY comparison*, same for profit at all levels), operating profit was JPY867mn, recurring profit was JPY890mn, and net income attributable to owners of the parent was JPY599mn.
*No YoY comparisons were stated, because the company began applying the Accounting Standard for Revenue Recognition (ASBJ Statement No. 29) from Q1 FY09/22. As a result of applying the new standard, sales increased by JPY33mn and profit at all levels from operating profit fell by JPY3mn in 1H FY09/22.
Progress: Progress rates in 1H against the company's full-year forecast was 42.3% for sales (51.2% of full-year result in 1H FY09/21), 34.7% for operating profit (62.3%), 35.3% for recurring profit (62.5%), and 33.8% for net income attributable to owners of the
parent (59.6%). The company maintained its initial forecast.
Sales of JPY4.4bn in 1H FY09/22 (no YoY comparison): Sales in the Doctor Platform segment (sales to external customers) were JPY3.4bn, up from JPY3.0bn in 1H FY09/21 before the application of the Accounting Standard for Revenue Recognition. Sales increased due to growth in all businesses, despite temporary declines for some services such as webinars in a fallback from 1H FY06/21. Amid changes in pharmaceutical companies’ marketing practices, the company focused on expanding the use of its existing services of drug assessment bulletin boards and webinar and increasing the unit price.
Sales in the Healthcare Solutions segment (to external customers) were JPY1.0bn (JPY815mn in 1H FY09/21). In addition to growing demand for industrial health programs contributing to a steady expansion in the number of "first call" contracts, specified health guidance sales also grew on the expansion of the number of contracted health insurance companies and increased utilization of the company's proprietary online consultation model.
Operating profit of JPY867mn (no YoY comparison): Operating profit was JPY1.0bn (JPY1.2bn in 1H FY09/21) in the Doctor Platform segment and JPY137mn (JPY122mn) in the Healthcare Solutions segment. GPM was down 5.5pp YoY to 62.0%, mainly due to a change in product mix and a rise in direct costs (expenses) associated with an increase in content production and specified health guidance sales. The company also boosted advertising spending due to costs associated with new membership acquisition using "Minkore!" SG&A expenses to sales ratio rose 4.2pp YoY to 42.5%, driven by an increase in personnel expenses as the company stepped up hiring activities with an eye toward business growth. OPM was down 9.7pp YoY to 19.5%.
Note: One of the company’s core businesses is the Doctor Platform business centering on the MedPeer doctors-only community website. In the Doctor Platform segment, the company provides support services for doctors and medical sites, while the Healthcare Solutions segment focuses on consumer health promotion and disease prevention. The company also has a Healthcare Solutions business, which has a strong affinity with its established business and opens doors to the disease prevention and health improvement fields, which are business areas with growth potential.
1H FY09/22 sales (to external customers) were JPY3.4bn (JPY3.0bn in 1H FY09/21, before application of the Accounting Standard for Revenue Recognition), while segment operating profit was JPY1.0bn (JPY1.2bn).
1H sales were 1.14x the previous year's figure, based on a simple comparison with year-ago results before the application of the new accounting standard. Sales of the Collective Intelligence Platform and Primary Care Platform businesses increased YoY. However, segment profit declined YoY due to higher direct costs (expenses) associated with content production and an increase in personnel expenses associated with recruitment activity to expand the business.
In the Collective Intelligence
Platform business, the company enhanced content of the MedPeer website, which about 40%
of Japanese doctors uses, and took steps to stimulate member activity. The company saw greater use of core products and unit price increase amid the accelerating shift to online marketing among pharmaceutical companies.
The company overhauled its website for medical students learning support platform it operates, "Minkore!” With over 8,000 medical students using the service, the company expected that the number of MedPeer members would break through the 150,000 mark in Q3.
As pharmaceutical companies altered their marketing activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company worked to boost the use and increase prices of its existing services, including its drug assessment bulletin board and webinars. In addition, in MedPeer Talk, its direct communication tool for doctors and medical representatives (MRs), the company released “Invitation Talk,” enabling MRs to send webinar invitations directly to doctors, as part of its aggressive investment in new services to drive digital transformation in the pharmaceutical industry.
In the Primary Care Platform business, the
company focused on growing sales of its “kakari” app service for pharmacies and “kakari
for Clinic” app service for clinics. In the "kakari" app, the number of app downloads exceeded 500,000 in February 2022, supporting the shift to family pharmacies as the service of choice of patients. Pharmacies using "kakari" benefited from an increase in demand for filling prescriptions issued by multiple, unspecified medical institutions.
Sales (to external customers) were JPY1.0bn (JPY815mn in 1H FY09/21) and segment operating profit was JPY137mn (JPY122mn).
This segment operates the Preventative Healthcare Platform business, providing healthcare support for consumers, including health promotion and disease prevention.
The number of contracts for "first call" (a cloud-based health management service run by subsidiary Mediplat Inc.) increased to 1,004 at end-1H FY09/21, 1.5x the year-ago figure. Initial consultations in the specified health guidance business run by subsidiary FitsPlus Inc. increased to 1.3x the year-ago figure in 1H, at 17,534. The company continues to promote its own online consultation model, because face-to-face meetings have been restricted due to COVID-19 since Q2 FY09/21.
In the lifelog platform business run by subsidiary Mediplat, the company promoted initiatives for further growth such as concluding a business alliance with CCC Marketing Co., Ltd.
For details on previous quarterly and annual results, please refer to the Historical financial statements section.
|(JPYmn)||1H Act.||2H Act.||FY Act.||1H Act.||2H Act.||FY Act.||1H Act.||2H Est.||FY Est.|
|Cost of sales||786||1,019||1,805||1,235||1,345||2,581||1,688|
|Gross profit margin||66.0%||66.0%||66.0%||67.5%||62.9%||65.3%||62.0%|
|Operating profit margin||21.0%||20.7%||20.8%||29.2%||18.5%||24.0%||19.5%||27.0%||23.8%|
|Recurring profit margin||22.0%||20.7%||21.3%||29.7%||18.7%||24.4%||20.0%||26.9%||24.0%|
The company’s FY09/22 forecast calls for sales of JPY10.5bn (+41.2% YoY), operating profit of JPY2.5bn (+40.1% YoY), recurring profit of JPY2.5bn (+39.1% YoY), and net income attributable to owners of the parent of JPY1.8bn (+36.8% YoY).
The company forecasts FY09/22 sales of JPY8.2bn (+42.1% YoY). It attributes this to the increase in use of existing mainstay services and higher unit prices (the effect of price revisions for mainstay products will be reflected in Q2 of the ensuing fiscal year for foreign pharmaceutical companies, and Q3 for Japanese pharmaceutical companies) and in higher revenues from new services.
In addition to improving the content of its website to make it more attractive to physicians, the company intends to develop the "Minkore!" business to attract younger physicians and increase the service utilization. It aims to expand its physician membership base further through these efforts and improve the advertising value within the MedPeer site.
In line with its policy of advancing the infrastructure for pharmaceutical marketing and responding to changes in the marketing activities of pharmaceutical companies, the company is strengthening services contributing to improved medical representative productivity, including MedPeer Talk. As physicians increasingly turn to online sources for information, e-marketing has evolved from a mere information provision tool to playing a central role in building and developing marketing strategies. In the past, e-marketing was a complementary service for pharmaceutical company medical representatives (MRs), but it will likely become an indispensable tool for securing information provision opportunities and improving MR productivity. The company aims to formulate strategies based on the individual needs of physicians through personalization of data obtained online. Furthermore, by playing a part in the CRM function, the company aims to support both online and offline MR activities. The company aims to create a new revenue stream by expanding sales in the “kakari” app service for pharmacies and “kakari for Clinic” app service for clinics through partnerships and other means.
The company forecasts FY9/22 sales of JPY2.4bn (+44.2% YoY).
The company intends to attract more corporate users of its one-stop industrial health support service “first call”. In addition, it will work to expand lifelog platform service, cultivate new partner companies and develop new services, and establish a patient base, as well as launch businesses that utilize the data gathered from these services. Further, in specified health guidance services, the company will promote the shift to online services and deepen collaboration with medical institutions and health check providers to expand the business.
MedPeer has not been announcing targets under a medium-term management plan. However, the company stated that it would aim for FY09/23 sales of JPY15.0bn when announcing Q3 FY09/20 results on August 13, 2020 (at the time of the announcement, it was forecasting sales of JPY5.3bn in FY09/20; actual results were JPY5.3bn). The company previously indicated that it would aim for market capitalization of over JPY50.0bn in 2020, which it achieved at that time.
In the August 2020 announcement, the main growth drivers cited were the Collective Intelligence Platform business, which is primarily supported by a foundation of member doctors and a client base of pharmaceutical companies; the Preventive Healthcare Platform business; and the Primary Care Platform business, which the company launched in August 2019 and positions as a third earnings pillar. The company noted it aims to accelerate the growth of the Primary Care Platform business by expanding and deepening its partnership with Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TSE : 4541), from FY09/21 onward.
Along with its Q3 FY09/21 results (out August 12, 2021), the company also announced its progress toward achieving FY09/23 sales of JPY15.0bn and the group's long-term outlook. It explained that the existing business continued to grow steadily and is on track to achieve the sales target as well as the following KPI targets for FY09/23.
While further developing the well-established Collective Intelligence Platform business, the company focused on strengthening sales at the Preventive Healthcare Platform business to create its second stable foundation for revenue. In addition, the company plans to actively promote investment from FY09/22 to make the Primary Care Platform business a third key revenue source. In addition to establishing and building up these three platforms, the company plans to make the Nursing Care Support Platform a fourth earnings pillar beginning with hospital discharge support service. Specifically, in October 2021, the company started the hospital discharge support service YoriSoi Care as a joint project in the at-home medical care domain with Credit Saison Co., Ltd. YoriSoi Care is a service supporting hospital discharge coordination work for patients and family members to facilitate admission to nursing care facilities or introduction to at-home care service providers (details to follow).
The main businesses of the four platforms are listed below (see the Business section for details on each of the major businesses).
The FY09/21 Doctor's Platform segment breakdown includes the Collective Intelligence Platform and Primary Care Platform. The Nursing Care Support Platform had not yet been started in FY09/21, but will also be included in the Doctor's Platform segment after its launch.
The Preventive Healthcare Platform will be included in the Healthcare Solutions segment. The four platforms will provide cross-layered support ranging from pre-illness care to terminal care, thus deepening each value chain (self-care --> awareness/diagnosis --> treatment--> continuation of treatment--> long-term care/terminal care) with seamless cooperation.
The company aims to expand sales at a CAGR of over 40% and to maintain
an OPM of over 30% while accelerating investments for further growth beyond FY09/23, the final year of the current medium-term plan.
According to the company, as of August 2021, the prospect of achieving the sales target of JPY15.0bn in FY09/23 is rising compared to when the target was announced in August 2020, owing to successful measures the company had been implementing.
The company's medium-term management policy is to establish a growth base as a medical center IT company, and maintain a CAGR of over 40% in sales and an OPM of over 30% beyond FY09/24. Specifically, the company aims to:
Evolve as a medical product marketing infrastructure
Establish a healthcare value chain that supports the health of the people
Aspire to create new businesses by utilizing the company's unique data accumulated in the respective platforms.
Previously, the online marketing market for pharmaceutical companies had played a supplementary role for offline, MR-focused activities. However, the shift to online activities has accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In next-generation marketing, traditional one-way communication (e.g., video, images, and text) is being joined by methods like chat and videoconferencing to bring in a new style of communication that allows direct conversations with MRs and doctors.
First generation (through 2016): offline (over JPY1tn) and online (market scale of JPY10.0–20.0bn according to company estimates)
Second generation (through 2020): offline (over JPY1tn) and online (market scale of JPY40.0–50.0bn according to company estimates)
With the expansion of online communication, information will be shared mutually between the real and online worlds, accelerating personalization. Pharmaceutical companies will be able to communicate with doctors based on information obtained from viewing logs related to videos from company members (physicians) and viewing and posting logs related to the MedPeer-hosted drug assessment bulletin board and other posting services. Moving forward, the company will achieve two-way, personalized marketing.
Third generation (through 20xx): next-generation marketing (based on estimates, the company targets a market scale of JPY1.0–1.5tn with expansion in integrated online and offline marketing elements)
The company has not incorporated impact from M&A into its target of JPY15.0bn in sales. However, it regards M&A as one of its important strategies for achieving medium- to long-term growth. It aims to conduct M&A throughout the entire healthcare field, which is wide-reaching.
Under the Collective Intelligence Platform business, MedPeer mainly operates physician-only community website (MedPeer) and pharmacist community website (YakuMed) (see the Business section for details about each website).
As physicians increasingly rely on the Internet for information collection, e-marketing has evolved from a mere information provision tool to playing a crucial role the development and formulation of marketing strategies by understanding physicians' individual needs. The company aims to grow its business by maximizing the features of MedPeer, which is based on physicians' active writings.
E-marketing has traditionally been complementary to the important role disseminating information by pharmaceutical company medical representatives (MRs), but as of end-FY09/21, e-marketing has become an essential information provision tool used by MRs to bolster pharmaceutical company productivity. Whereas the same information was provided to each medical department in the past, personalization using data acquired online has enabled the targeting of individualized information to physicians and formulation of strategies that meet the individualized needs of physicians. The company looks to support both online and offline MR activities by offering CRM functionality.
The company is actively promoting new initiatives (see below) to accommodate the dramatically changing needs of physicians and pharmaceutical companies.
Below are the main initiatives as of end-FY09/21
MedPeer strived to convert the MedPeer site from an ad delivery platform to a marketing platform and raise the value of its marketing products. At the same time, it intends to make its currently “helpful” services “indispensable” to doctors in their clinical practices and research. As a way to utilize the data held by the MedPeer Group more effectively, MedCross K.K. was established in November 2020 to provide data analysis-based services such as product development, providing solutions, and marketing support.
Specifically, the company promoted the following initiatives.
Expansion of the MedPeer member base: focused on dramatically increasing the number of member doctors (over 120,000 as of January 2019) through alliances* in FY09/19 and onward while sustaining organic growth by jump-starting the use of existing services. The company concentrated on M&A and alliances with academic societies, university medical offices, and companies (such as medical publishers and research and recruitment companies) with a member base of physicians, and other steps to achieve leaps in membership. As of end-FY09/19, the number of physician members totaled 120,000 due to the business alliance with Anterio Inc. and Plamed Inc. (November 2018), rising to 140,000 by end-FY09/21 due to the August 2021 transfer of the MinKore! business.
*Total member base including physicians registered as members of MedPeer and those who are registered members of alliance partner organizations to which MedPeer can disseminate information
Transition from ad delivery platform to marketing platform: In addition to establishing a new content production team, the company converted COLBO Co., Ltd., which has a proven track record in designing and creating medical content, into a consolidated subsidiary in January 2020 and strengthened the system it has in place for providing comprehensive marketing support. As a way to utilize the data held by the MedPeer Group more effectively, MedCross K.K. was established in November 2020 to provide data analysis-based services such as product development, providing solutions, and marketing support. Through these actions, the company is promoting the development of new services that will establish consistency throughout the pharmaceutical marketing value chain. Meanwhile, it is providing an integrated marketing support service covering strategy formulation to content production, content distribution, assessment of effectiveness, and improvement.
Content production: Main content includes webinar plans and web pages containing information such as doctor interviews and disease information that pharmaceutical company ads on the MedPeer site link to. With the consolidation of COLBO Co., Ltd., which has experience in the planning and production of medical content, in January 2020, the company has further strengthened its one-stop marketing support system. The company is confident that it can create content that is understandable and easy to view, thanks to the expertise it gained from its website on how to achieve high click rates by adjusting ad presentation (format and wording).
Product development based on data analysis, solution dispensation, and marketing support: The company established a joint venture with PKSHA Technology Inc. in November 2020 with the goals of developing products for pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers, providing solutions, and performing marketing support activities. Two objectives are listed below.
The company will analyze the thought processes and priorities that doctors use and set when selecting drugs and promote measures such as sales estimations for pharmaceutical companies using data obtained from its Doctor Platform and algorithmic technology from PKSHA. With these efforts, it will support the implementation of corporate marketing activities.
Using Lifelog, its healthcare database, and algorithmic technology from PKSHA, the company will make proposals related to effective marketing and solutions primarily through the creation of individual “Patient Journeys.”
Patient Journey: Displays the sequence behaviors, thinking, and emotions that patients display from the moments at which they become aware of their diseases or symptoms to the times at which they receive treatment (eventual examinations at medical facilities, administration of medicine, etc.)
Vertical and horizontal rollout of collective medical intelligence platform: MedPeer Career, which was derived from MedPeer, refers doctors wishing to change jobs or work part-time to physician job placement agencies. Business succession is becoming an issue for clinics run by older doctors (in Japan, around 7,000 clinics open and a similar number of them close every year). To deepen its involvement in this area, in February 2019, MedPeer launched Clinic Support—a collective medical intelligence platform for doctors wishing to open their own clinics. During the same year, the company also provided career-building support for doctors through efforts such as its launch of MedPeer SCOUT, which provides scouting-based career change assistance.
In the summer of 2020, MedPeer Career Agent Co., Ltd. (a fully owned subsidiary established in May of the same year) launched a recruitment business targeting doctors. To jointly promote this business, the company formed a business alliance with MHA, Inc., which possesses job vacancy information for more than 2,500 medical institutions in Japan. Rakusai, MHA’s recruitment support system for medical institutions, is utilized by 150 employment agencies, and more than 700 agents, throughout Japan. Through its business alliance with MHA, the company, which has a network of 120,000 member doctors, will develop a recruitment business that meet the needs of doctors and medical institutions alike by applying the strengths of both companies.
The company launched YakuMed, a platform for pharmacists, in spring 2019. With the MedPeer platform, the company has gathered collective medical intelligence (including drug reviews) and made it available to a specific peer group (physicians). YakuMed applies this use of collective medical intelligence to a related profession (pharmacists). The company has created a platform for pharmacists and is utilizing collective medical intelligence in marketing, because doctors’ drug reviews on the MedPeer site are useful and of great interest to pharmacists as well.
The Preventive Healthcare Platform business includes "first call," an industrial health business support service, DietPlus, a specified health guidance service, and the lifelong platform deployed with partners. The company is developing preventive healthcare services centered on medicine and food.
The "first call" service provides one-stop support for the industrial health businesses. The company is developing services in the occupational healthcare fields (i.e., services for corporations, health insurance associations, national health insurance associations, etc.) and services for BtoC services providers. In addition to further expanding corporate users, the company is focused on providing OEM online medical consultations such as d-Healthcare and goo Doctors.
DietPlus has been promoting its own online interview model since Q2 FY09/20, when the COVID-19 pandemic led to restrictions in in-person specified health guidance.
With the goal of providing self-care services that take advantage of customer contact points from partner companies (Sugi Pharmacy Co., Ltd, Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc, Sapporo Drug Store Co, Ltd, and Ajinomoto Co., Inc [TSE Prime: 2802]), the company is developing its Lifelog platform on a full scale. Furthermore, it will promote the cultivation of new partner companies and services, and strive to launch a business that fully utilizes its repository of accumulated data (commercializing lifelog data). MedPeer aims to launch a billing model that utilizes the customer base of partner companies. The number of lifelog app downloads in FY09/21 increased about 80% YoY to 2.2mn.
The following are the main initiatives through end-FY09/21
Strengthen “first call” service for companies: MedPeer is developing the “first call” service for companies, which is provided by Mediplat Inc. (joint venture with Sugi Pharmacy), into a health and labor management solution by adding an app-based stress check service to “first call’s” online medical consultation and Internet-based industrial physician services. The company is making a business opportunity out of the sharp rise in demand for health and labor management solutions of the work style reform law that took effect in spring 2019. MedPeer has collaborated with Mediplat since it became a group company. After much trial and error, the companies concluded that the online industrial physician service and the app-based stress check service were the best fit for clients’ needs. MedPeer provides four products (online medical consultations, internet-based appointments with industrial physicians, stress checks, and health checkup management services).
Online medical consultations: “first call” provides chat-based medical consultations. The service had 871 client companies as of end-September 2021 and adds roughly 20–30 new companies per month.
Internet-based appointments with industrial physicians (launched July 2018): The service provides video call consultations with industrial physicians. The service aims to maximize convenience as a management tool for HR departments (for example, by scheduling consultations or issuing reports afterward). Businesses with 50 or more employees were previously required by law to have a contract with an industrial physician, but these policies had not produced adequate results. However, with the passing of a workstyle reform-related bill in Japan during April 2019, companies have faced a greater need to focus on ensuring occupational health through the industrial physicians. These physicians have diverse duties that they must perform in a limited time. They must cover all fields of medical study in addition to their own (e.g., an internist may need to treat a patient with mental health issues). Accordingly, MedPeer provides Internet-based appointments with industrial physicians that facilitate mutual support between physicians of this type.
App-based stress check service (launched January 2019): A free option to the online medical consultation service. Companies that use the service together with the Internet-based industrial physician appointment service benefit from a one-stop service that includes everything from an online stress check to an interview-based guidance from a doctor. The stress check system was established as a way to prevent workers’ mental health problems after the revised Industrial Safety and Health Act went into effect in December 2015, making it a legal requirement for businesses with 50 or more employees to conduct stress checks on all employees. Employees who request a consultation after receiving the results of the test will be referred to a doctor (recommended by an industrial physician).
Rather than seeking a share in the stress check market itself, MedPeer decided to provide a free app that connects Mediplat service with business people. The company made this decision because, while the market is worth billions of yen, the statutory stress check is not a service through which it can differentiate itself. MedPeer intends to leverage the app and encourage users to sign up for the industrial physician or online medical consultation services.
Health checkup management service (started from May 2021): It is a service that can manage the health checkup results of employees online, and the health checkup results submitted in various formats are converted to data in common format and comprehensive judgement values are made according to the unified standard (Japan Society of Ningen Dock criteria). In addition, the company plans to incrementally start providing functions such as safe online transfer of health checkup results, stress check results, and medical interview notes to the industrial physician, health examination appointments, confirmation of exam status, and reminders to unexamined patients.
The number of industrial physician consultations—particularly at major companies—is on the rise due to these legal revisions. Meanwhile, scheduling has become a constraint since industrial physicians only visit these companies on certain days. Bringing these consultations online generates benefits, such as enabling appointments on days other than designated visitation dates and allowing individuals to make their own arrangements with industrial physicians. Demand for this service is likely to grow as a result of these benefits.
Strengthening specified health guidance service: The company is outpacing market growth in the specified health guidance service. To this end, it will pursue expanded utilization and application of IT (in which FitsPlus excels), strengthen its dietitian base, and improve operations. The government’s focus on specified health guidance has provided a tailwind for the company. The government has been urgently implementing initiatives, such as increasing the rate at which it collects healthcare support money for senior citizens aged over 75 (essentially serving as a financial penalty). Previously, specified health guidance sessions were held after registered dieticians had made visits to offices and other places of business. However, at present, progressive deregulation has simplified procedures for providing online guidance using information and communications technology. Many physicians consider diet to be important in terms of preventing lifestyle diseases. The company plans to expand the scale of its specified health guidance operations by providing dietary guidance through its expert registered dieticians.
Market growth: The government’s target rate for implementation of specified health guidance in 2023 is 45% (versus an implementation rate of 23.2% in FY2018), which suggests the market is likely to grow. Incentives aimed at encouraging more people to take up specified health guidance include diversifying the guidance requirements (e.g., shorter guidance period, use of ICT, model programs, etc.), setting incentives for insurance societies, and starting distribution of health scoring reports (source: “Implementation status of specified health examination and health guidance in fiscal 2016,” MHLW.)
Measures to increase market share: The company plans to reduce the workload of insurance societies and business operators through the use of IT, and increase service levels through measures such as affiliated support programs for people with severe diseases. It also intends to devise a system for recruiting and training licensed dietitians.
Starting up lifelog platform: Together with partner companies, Mediplat is developing a Lifelog platform that enables personalized marketing based on lifestyle records. The foundation for this platform is provided by Sugi Support Walk and other dietary habit and footstep tracking apps developed by Mediplat through Sugi Pharmacy.
Sugi Pharmacy has around 1,000 stores, which are visited by around 200mn people per year. Distributing flyers in stores or conducting face-to-face sales is difficult for the company, which does not have a direct line of contact with consumers. Accordingly, the company believes that it can generate synergy in this regard through collaborative efforts. It will expand its database using offline points of contact such as Sugi Support Walk, which awards points for units of distance walked by users. Through these measures, the company aims to establish a system through which it can accumulate data by providing services. By responding to issues and challenges associated with brick-and-mortar stores, which are important for companies engaging in online business, the company expects that it can combine and expand the efficacy of online and offline operations.
The company is actively investing in its Primary Care Platform segment with aim of transforming it into a third growth pillar for the company’s businesses. The segment consists of kakari, which was launched in June 2019 and is the target of sales expansion efforts between the company and partner Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., and kakari for Clinic, which was launched in October 2020 through Nichi-Med, Inc., a joint venture established by the two companies.
With kakari and kakari for Clinic, the company will construct a Primary Care Platform that will provide consistency that spans all the way from clinics to pharmacies. The company will evolve this platform into one that links medical institutions (family clinics) both to patients and to other institutions by expanding sales of kakari for Clinic using its pool of kakari member locations (family pharmacies) and strengthening collaboration between the two services.
The majority of dispensing pharmacies are small or owner-operated businesses that are not equipped financially or trained to undertake the new role required of pharmacies. Thus, many pharmacies and pharmacists are struggling to cope with the challenge of taking on new functions and providing new value.
As of end-FY-09/21, the number of kakari member pharmacies increased about 40% YoY to 1,893 pharmacies while the number of kakari app downloads increased 6.7-fold YoY and prescription transmissions were up 12.1x, substantially outpacing the growth in pharmacy members. The number of prescriptions required has declined due to the pandemic, but use of kakari at member pharmacies is increasing.
The company launched the hospital discharge support service YoriSoi Care from October 2021 in collaboration with Credit Saison as a foray into the home medical care business. YoriSoi Care is a service supporting hospitals in the discharge adjustment work, i.e., placement of patients transitioning from in-hospital care to nursing care facilities or at-home medical care. Discharge adjustment work refers to support in the selection of appropriate subsequent medical treatment destinations for patients and family members facing various living needs and problems post-discharge and provides peace of mind for the patients and family members.
As of end-September 2021, the hospital is responsible for the discharge adjustment work, which takes time and effort to collaborate with the related parties in the hospital and other institutions to find a destination for the patient after he is discharged. It is also difficult for the receiving medical institution to grasp information such as timing, from which hospital being discharged, and the type of patient in a timely manner.
With YoriSoi Care, hospitals can register information on patients scheduled to be discharged on a dedicated platform and visualize the needs of patients so that potential recipient facilities can either accept or reject them, thus enabling a matching of discharged patients with receiving facilities.
Mutually leveraging MedPeer's expertise in building healthcare related platforms with Credit Saison's networks and accumulated know-how in payments and finance businesses will enable the companies to develop new businesses integrating the internet and physical world.
The company has two core business segments: Doctor Platform (77.6% of sales and operating profit of JPY2.0bn in FY09/21), which is centered on MedPeer, a doctors-only community website, and Healthcare Solutions (22.4% of sales and operating profit of JPY289mn), which targets health promotion and disease prevention. MedPeer is the only company in Japan that operates in both of these spaces. With “Supporting Doctors, Helping Patients” as its mission, the company’s vision is to reinvent medical care by harnessing collective medical intelligence*.
*Collective medical intelligence: Medical information generated by collecting knowledge from a large and unspecified group of doctors, which is subsequently analyzed and organized systematically.
In the past three fiscal years through FY09/21, sales grew by 50.1% per year (to JPY7.4bn in FY09/21) and operating profit by 69.3% per year (to JPY1.8bn), absorbing upfront spending in the Healthcare Solutions segment. OPM was 24.0% in FY09/21 (+3.2pp YoY).
The company was founded in December 2004 and its stock was listed on TSE Mothers in June 2014 before moving to the First Section of the TSE in September 2020. CEO Dr. Yo Iwami (M.D., Ph.D.) still sees patients in a clinical setting once per week. MedPeer had 272 employees on a consolidated basis as of September 2021.
In the Doctor Platform segment, the company operates the MedPeer website, an online doctors-only community and knowledge management tool (business model described later) that allows doctors of different specialties and locations to share live reviews based on clinical experience. MedPeer has over 140,000 members, which is around 40% of Japan’s physicians nationwide.
In this segment, the company generates revenue mainly from pharmaceutical companies by offering access to collective medical intelligence gathered via MedPeer and providing opportunities to place product ads on the website. It also generates additional revenue by leveraging this collective medical intelligence to support pharmaceutical companies with the planning, execution, and management of their marketing strategies. Other sources of revenue include research outsourcing services (B2B), which include running online physician surveys on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, and a job information service (B2B) that refers doctors using the site to physician placement agencies (see the Business model section for details). The company collectively refers to these services as its Collective Intelligence Platform.
The company is also developing a collective intelligence platform for pharmacists called YakuMed. The platform utilizes collective medical knowledge for marketing as doctors’ drug reviews on the MedPeer site are also useful and of great interest to pharmacists. Physicians and pharmacists have differing views on drugs. Physicians assess patient compliance (once-daily dosage tends to have better compliance than three daily doses, difficulty in taking due to factors such as formulation, size, and powder), but MedPeer believes pharmacists are more familiar with compliance issues. In addition, pharmacists are more involved in unpackaging large volumes of pharmaceuticals so their collective knowledge on ease or difficulty in unpackaging generic drugs differs from that of physicians. The government is promoting increased usage of generic drugs while pharmacists have the right to determine generic substitution, which MedPeer believes provides a marketing business opportunity.
MedPeer was able to recruit young physicians that were using Minkore! when it acquired the business in August 2021 and the company aims to expand its physician membership numbers (140,000 at end-FY09/21, projected to reach 170,000 by end-FY09/22 and 200,000 by end-FY09/23) by strengthening web marketing based on excellent content.
Additionally, the company is expanding sales generated by “kakari”, a support service for converting pharmacies into family pharmacies, through a business alliance with Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TSE Prime: 4541). The companies launched “kakari for Clinic”, a jointly operated service that supports the conversion of clinics into family clinics, and established joint venture Nichi-Med, Inc., which is responsible for marketing activities, customer support, and other elements of kakari for Clinic (more details in the section entitled “Business model”). The company refers to these two services as its Primary Care Platform.
The kakari support service for family pharmacies is comprised of a smartphone app for connecting patients with pharmacies and a kakari pharmacy system for use by pharmacies. Pharmacies provide the following functions to patients so as to become their primary pharmacy and encourage repeat business.
*Family pharmacy is a pharmacy that employs a family pharmacist (a patient's primary pharmacist that has full access and can manage his medication status). The government has promoted the division between prescribing and dispensing functions for a long time as a means of improving the quality of medical care by allowing both physicians and pharmacists to handle their areas of expertise. Consequently, the percentage of prescriptions filled by out-of-hospital pharmacies exceeds 70% (source: Japan Pharmaceutical Association's "Status of separation of drug prescribing and dispensing functions") while the number of dispensing pharmacies has surpassed 58,000 (source: MHLW's Overview of 2017 Report of Public Health Administration and Services).
On the other hand, the recent issue of the rising number of Monzen Yakkyoku (dispensing pharmacies adjacent to hospitals that mainly fill the prescriptions for that medical institution) has created a problem in that patients tend to get their prescriptions filled at the pharmacy near each of these medical institutions. This detracts from the family pharmacy model as it is difficult for a single pharmacist to centrally manage all of the patient's medication information. The majority of pharmacies are smaller chains or owner-operated pharmacies that lack the necessary manpower to handle functions other than basic dispensing, making it difficult for them to fulfill the new roles required of pharmacies.
Functions required of family pharmacies include continuous medication management and guidance, centralized management of residual medication and polypharmacy, coordination at time of admissions and discharge, long-term care consultation, and online medication guidance.
The number of kakari member pharmacies increased about 40% YoY to 1,893 by end-FY09/21. In FY09/21, the number of app downloads increased 6.7-fold YoY while prescriptions transmissions were up 12.1x, substantially outpacing the growth in the number of member pharmacies. The number of prescriptions filled has declined due to the pandemic while the use of kakari at member pharmacies is increasing. Pharmacies need to be able to quickly respond to external changes such as the August 2021 revision of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act and changing regulations.
The "kakari for Clinic" app service supports communication between clinics and patients, providing a chat function to connect clinics with patients, appointment reservation functionality, and a clinic PR function to facilitate rapid information dissemination. The video call feature enables direct calls between patients and physicians. A payment function was also launched.
Nursing Care Support Platform
MedPeer, in collaboration with Credit Saison, launched a hospital discharge support service (YoriSoi Care) from October 2021. In addition to streamlining hospital discharge coordination work, the companies aim to create a discharge support platform that expands patient options for treatment destinations and makes it easier to find treatment destinations that meet the patient's needs.
In the Healthcare Solutions segment, subsidiary Mediplat is developing a Lifelog platform through the company’s industrial health support platform (first call) and collaboration with Sugi Pharmacy, the Nikkei, and Satudora Holdings (TSE Prime: 3544), Ajinomoto (TSE Prime: 2802).
Through first call (JPY20,000–JPY120,000 or more per month based on plan and size of workforce), the company concludes agreements with companies and health insurance associations (871 agreements as of September 30, 2021) and provides corporate employees with online medical consultations, online interviews with industrial physicians, stress checks, and health checkup management services.
Through its Lifelog platform services, the company and partner companies provide self-care assistance for general consumers, including pedometric and meal recording services. Along with these same partners, the company also distributes advertisements to users and accumulates lifelogs (records of lifestyle-related data).
Meanwhile, subsidiary FitsPlus Inc. is rolling out a specified health guidance* service that primarily focuses on dietary guidance provided through registered dieticians. It provides these services by forming agreements with health insurance associations (comprising corporate employees) and dispensing guidance through registered dieticians who conduct consultations by visiting offices or other places of business or via information and communications technology. The company refers to these services as its Preventive Healthcare Platform.
The Preventive Healthcare Platform is comprised of these services.
*Specified health guidance: Health guidance provided to individuals determined to require improvements in their living environments based on the metabolic syndrome risk numbers (the number of associated criteria for which the patient tested positive) they were assigned after receiving examinations aimed at preventing lifestyle-related diseases. Through DietPlus, registered dieticians provide lifestyle guidance either online or through direct meetings in response to requests from health insurance associations.
In the Healthcare Solutions segment, the company broke even in Q3 FY09/18 despite prioritizing investment and reported profit in Q4 of the same financial year. Since then, performance in terms of operating profit has been strong.
Parent company MedPeer, Inc. operates the Doctor Platform segment. The Healthcare Solutions segment comprises “first call,” operated by subsidiary Mediplat Inc., and DietPlus, operated by FitsPlus Inc.
The segment includes the company’s core business, the collective medical intelligence service (the MedPeer doctors-only community website) and the doctor job information service (refers doctors using the MedPeer site to physician placement agencies).
This is a core segment that accounted for 77.6% of sales and 87.2% of operating profit in FY09/21.
The company operates MedPeer (knowledge management tool used to share firsthand information generated by physicians working in medical settings), which is both a specialist community site for doctors and the company’s foundational business.
Over 140,000 doctors are members of the MedPeer website. This means nearly 40% of the roughly 300,000 doctors in Japan use this website. The website serves as an online platform where doctors can share experiences (members can post and read posts for free) regardless of location or specialization.
It is also a knowledge management tool for sharing live information from doctors on the ground. The company generates revenue by gathering a collective medical intelligence (see above) on the website and providing it to pharmaceutical companies* for use as a marketing support tool, as well as by offering ad placements to pharmaceutical companies (collective medical intelligence service: B2B service that earns revenue from ads, marketing support, and research services). According to the company, in contrast to similar websites that mainly use information provided by pharmaceutical companies and other suppliers, its website is based on information provided by users (physicians; see below).
The company generates additional revenue by referring MedPeer member doctors to physician placement agencies (job information service: B2B service that earns commission from referrals).
The main costs are personnel expenses and loyalty points (advertising and promotional expenses; see below).
The MedPeer website is based on the idea that one doctor’s question is likely to be shared by others. The company prepares diverse content to support the medical community and provides a free platform for doctors and medical students* to share questions and experiences.
Pharmaceutical companies (including Pfizer Japan Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. [TSE Prime: 4502]) pay for access to content such as the bulletin board-style drug assessment website (the first of its kind, launched in spring 2010). The company currently has over 60 clients. The value of the MedPeer website content grows as the number of active users increases.
*Medical students (members) are able to view content on the MedPeer website, but not write or respond to posts. This is because the company’s various services are intended to provide reference information for doctors with medical practices.
According to the company, the demographics of the MedPeer member base are fairly representative of the demographics for all domestic physicians.
|20–29||30–39||40–49||50–59||60–69||70 and older|
|MedPeer member doctors||4%||23%||28%||28%||13%||4%|
|Total doctors in Japan||8.9%||21.9%||22.9%||22.8%||14.5%||9.0%|
|Hokkaido||Tohoku||Kanto region||Hokuriku and Koshinetsu||Kinki||Chugoku and Shikoku||Kyushu|
|MedPeer member doctors||4.9%||6.2%||31.0%||6.3%||19.6%||10.4%||13.0%|
Two key performance indicators (KPIs) for the MedPeer website are its numbers of members and daily active users (DAUs), which reflect its activity levels. The company has not disclosed absolute DAU values, but page views in December 2021 were up 40% compared to September 2019, indicating that site use has been successfully stimulated. This situation is creating a positive cycle of user generated content (UGC), in which increases in content make the service more attractive and therefore lead to growth in the number of visitors, which in turn results in more content, and so on.
From 2H FY09/18 onward, the company intends to focus on increasing its number of website members by cooperating with partnering companies and aggressively launching events and initiatives that can also serve to promote new services, such as the medical information sharing service. As a result of the alliance with Anterio Inc. and Plamed Inc. (see below), the number of member doctors topped 140,000 in 2021. The company expects this number to expand to 170,000 by end-FY09/22 through utilization of the acquired Minkore! business and strengthened web marketing based on excellent content. Through efforts such as its establishment of MedPeer Channel, the company aims to enhance the content it provides and expand its membership base by promoting collaboration with academic societies and other groups.
Details regarding the main content of the MedPeer website can be found below:
A virtual bulletin board for sharing reviews about prescription drugs. The platform brings conventional, on-site information exchange among doctors online*. The company gathers and shares information provided by doctors.
Member doctors share and accumulate information that is unbiased from the perspective of physicians. The online drug assessment bulletin board covers all drugs that physicians generally recall during day-to-day operations and functions as a database of online reviews with over 600,000 posts in total (as of September 30, 2021).
*Content includes reviews concerning the prescription of certain medications. According to the company, doctors do not prescribe drugs to patients without multiple confirmed sources and always exchange information to learn about efficacy and side effects before prescribing a drug. MedPeer’s drug evaluation bulletin board allows that confirmation process to be conducted online by offering a collection of medical information.
A place for doctors to freely exchange opinions on anything from specialized medical subjects to non-medical topics. Forum Q&A is a service that allows doctors to help solve each other’s problems and answer questions. It offers several forum categories because doctors’ problems and questions cover a wide range of topics, from specialist medical issues to matters relating to their private lives. One of these categories is the Clinical forum, which answers questions that arise in treatment and research.
A place where physicians can directly consult online with around 500 experts in more than 60 specialized medical categories. It enables physicians to ask questions in any field regardless of specialty and is therefore utilized by a large number of physicians.
A place for conducting surveys in Q&A format to several thousands of doctors. It can collect responses from 3,000–4,000 participants per week. Surveys may target all member doctors or a specific group based on gender, type of work (hospital employed or private practice), age, or specialty. Since the surveys are published on the website, all member doctors can view survey results and comments and exchange views on the results.
A place for online case review meetings with participants from all over Japan, not just certain universities or hospitals.
Live-streamed seminars (live video content) hosted by pharmaceutical companies that are free to view and deliver the latest medical information from doctors and other practitioners. They feature a diverse range of topics from patients’ symptoms, diagnosis and treatment methods, and issues affecting the field of medicine as a whole.
Refers users (doctors) to physician placement agencies.
MedPeer Career Agent Co., Ltd. (a wholly owned subsidiary established in May 2020) is operating a recruiting business for physicians. It has formed a business alliance with MHA, Inc. to jointly promote this business. Rakusai, MHA’s recruitment support system for medical institutions, is utilized by 150 employment agencies, and more than 700 agents, throughout Japan. Through its business alliance with MHA, the company, which has a network of 140,000 member doctors, is developing a recruitment business that meets the needs of doctors and medical institutions alike by applying the strengths of both companies.
As described in the perceptual map shown earlier (See diagram “Positioning of the MedPeer website”), MedPeer is a website that operates from a user perspective. The company notes that websites of competitors operate from a supplier (e.g., pharmaceutical companies) perspective.
MedPeer occupies a different space as a medium. Rival sites are digital channels that communicate information to physicians online, whereas MedPeer has established itself as a social media site and a knowledge management tool for physicians (doctors on the ground share live reviews via MedPeer).
MedPeer is a place where doctors can share information from a professional perspective. In academic conferences and scientific meetings, doctors constantly review treatments without bias, questioning whether or not they truly benefit patients. MedPeer does the same online. On the other hand, information based on a supplier perspective is likely to be biased.
For example, when doctors hear about new drugs from a medical representative (MR), many will collect information by communicating with other doctors rather than prescribing the drug to a patient without checking other sources. Even if they do not attend an academic meeting on the subject, they will at least consult with other doctors (their friends and colleagues) about the drug’s effectiveness and adverse reactions. MedPeer is an online platform that serves the same purpose. As marketing strategies for pharmaceutical companies change, a website that provides insight into physicians' opinions will be increasingly important.
MedPeer members (physicians) can earn loyalty points when they register, click on the online drug assessment bulletin board, or reply to questionnaires. Points are awarded for actions that add to the site’s collective medical intelligence.
Points can be redeemed for Amazon gift vouchers, various types of e-money (nanako, ponta, etc.) or donations to Doctors Without Borders or natural disaster relief funds.
Points-related costs account for most of MedPeer’s advertising expenses, and the monthly cost was around JPY35mn in FY09/21. Points are issued within the calendar year and are valid for 12 months. The company says the expiry rate is low, indicating that most points are used.
In the Healthcare Solutions segment (consolidated from FY09/17), the company leverages its network of dietitians and doctors to offer specified health guidance* service DietPlus and “first call,” which provides occupational health support services (through an online medical consultation platform composed of doctors) for corporate employees (in health insurance associations). The company mainly receives revenue from health insurance societies and companies, but the business model is essentially B2B2C.
Through DietPlus, registered dieticians linked together by the company’s network respond to requests from health insurance associations by providing services to individuals who, upon receiving examinations aimed at preventing lifestyle-related diseases (special health check-ups), have been informed that they need improvements in their living habits or environments (more details below).
Through first call, the company provides four services: online medical consultations, Internet-based appointments with industrial physicians, free stress checks through smartphone apps or the internet, and health checkup management (more details below).
The segment accounted for 22.4% of sales and 12.8% of operating profit in FY09/21. Despite the company’s prioritization of investment, the segment broke even on a quarterly basis in Q3 FY09/18 and posted an operating profit in Q4 of the same financial year.
*Specified health guidance: Health guidance given to individuals assessed, based on the results of a medical examination, as requiring lifestyle changes due to a high number of risk factors for metabolic syndrome. Two types of support (motivational and active) are offered depending on the risk factors. Both support types consist of an initial individual interview followed by continual support for lifestyle changes conducted over three to six months via telephone, email, letter, or fax.
The company believes that IT must play a greater role in healthcare, not only to maintain the quality of medical care but also to cut medical spending. With both a rapidly aging population and fiscal problems, Japan is under pressure to respond to the looming 2025 crisis when baby boomers turn 75.
The company has created MedPeer site as an online platform for physicians to consolidate and share their knowledge and experience. The site will form a foundation from which the company plans to rapidly launch various new services and drive the healthtech business while focusing on “healthtech at the heart of medicine.”
DietPlus is a personal dietary guidance service to help people eat properly and lose weight in a healthy manner. It leverages a network of nationally licensed dietitians. Through DietPlus, the company is expanding its operations in support of health insurance associations.
With DietPlus, the company aims to help control rising medical costs in Japan by providing preventative medical treatment to ward off lifestyle diseases or stop them from becoming more serious. The service focuses on improving diet, seen as key to preventing diseases.
Subsidiary FitsPlus Inc. is responsible for operating this service. In April 2020, the company launched a service through which it makes all specified health guidance online available online. For health insurance associations, the cost of specified health guidance services per member or employee is typically JPY20,000–40,000.
Based on the Act on Assurance of Medical Care for Elderly People (1982, Article 80), specified health examinations and health guidance have been provided since 2008. The introduction of specified health guidance services that use information and communication technologies (ICT), such as the company’s DietPlus, has become easier due to recent systemic reforms (previously, the service had issues with convenience, such as requiring a prior application). The number of individuals to whom the company has provided specified health guidance through DietPlus is on the rise. Although the company faced impact from the COVID-19 pandemic in FY09/20, it aims to increase sales generated through DietPlus by 40% YoY in FY09/22.
Specified health examinations refer to medical checkups focused on diagnosing metabolic syndrome to prevent lifestyle diseases that are the cause of roughly 60% of deaths among Japanese. The examinations are offered to individuals aged 40–74. Specified health guidance is provided to those identified as having high levels of risk for lifestyle diseases based on the results of specified medical examinations and for whom lifestyle changes are expected to be significantly effective in preventing lifestyle diseases. Professional staff including public health nurses and dietitians provide support for changing lifestyles.
According to data published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 53,798,756 individuals were identified as eligible for specified medical examinations in 2019, and of those, 29,935,810 actually underwent the examination (implementation rate of 55.6%). Of those who underwent the examination, 5,200,519 were assessed as eligible for specified health guidance (eligibility rate of 17.4%); and of the eligible individuals, 1,205,961 completed specified health guidance. Supposing specified health guidance costs JPY25,000 per person (estimated to cost between JPY25,000–30,000), multiplying the cost per person by the number of individuals who had completed the guidance (1,183,786) indicates that the actual market size of specified health guidance is roughly JPY30.0bn. Further, multiplying the cost per person by the number of individuals eligible for guidance (5,200,519) suggests that the size of the market is about JPY130.0bn when accounting for latent demand. This means that the size of DietPlus’ target market is massive.