ITOCHU Announces Collaboration in the Field of Medical and Health Care Sales
February 28, 2011
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has agreed with American Express International, Inc. (headquartered in the United States; Robert Siedell, Japan President; hereinafter “American Express”) to collaborate the field of medical and health care sales.
Through this collaboration, ITOCHU will strengthen its sales of medical specialty devices and supplies to general practitioners, and American Express will expand its supply and payment service for medical specialty devices and supplies to general practitioners. Through the “Clinic Innovation Project,” which ITOCHU is promoting to general practitioners, both companies will make recommendations to general practitioners to use the American Express® Business Card (hereinafter “Business Card”), an American Express card designed for business owners, as a means of paying for purchases of medical specialty devices and supplies, and will actively promote payment using this card. Itochu commenced accepting Business Card through this project, effective February 26.
American Express is participating in the “Clinic Information Project” being promoted by ITOCHU, and has established a desk exclusively for acquiring Business Card cardmembers at the project’s showroom in front of Tokyo Station. Cardmember acquisitions also commenced on February 26. ITOCHU will expand its sales of medical specialty devices and supplies through the showroom, its webstore and other means.
General practitioners that become cardmembers will be able to improve the efficiency of making payments for medical specialty devices and supplies, and reduce costs such as bank transfer handling fees to companies. In addition, cardmembers can also use their Business Card to pay for transportation and telecommunication costs and other expenses. This has the advantage of allowing the consolidation of expenditure related to the management of doctors’ offices.
Unique American Express privileges such as card protection, “Quarterly Expense Management Reports,” useful for expense management, and the “Business Savings” program, under which discounts can be enjoyed in a wide range of business categories such as delivery services, enable efficiency improvements at doctors’ offices, in addition to reviews and reductions of expenses. The Business Card is already being used among dentists and veterinarians as a means of making payments for purchases of medical specialty devices and supplies in Japan, and, through this collaboration, it is expected that the card will be used among general practitioners in a wide range of business categories.
Through this collaboration, both companies will continue to strive to increase the number of cardmembers among general practitioners, and at the same time, increase the number of medical specialty devices and supplies that can be purchased using the card. Through the “Clinic Innovation Project,” ITOCHU will aim for sales of medical specialty devices and supplies to reach one billion yen by the end of 2012.
ITOCHU has included its Life & Healthcare business as important area of focus in its Frontiere 2010 medium-term management plan, and has promoted the efforts to build and expand many new businesses in the area of Life & Healthcare both domestically and overseas. Companies such as Century Medical, Inc., Goodman Co., Ltd. and Japan MDM Inc. have proven records in the area of sales of medical specialty devices, and ITOCHU also has expanded its efforts in this area, in ways such as the office management of Japan Medical Partners, a consortium of multiple companies in the areas of medical specialty device sales, and counter-H1N1 influenza virus measures at municipal and local core hospitals that provide emergency disaster medical care. ITOCHU will also expand its service provision and medical specialty device sales for the clinic market through the Clinic Innovation Project, and will aim for a synergistic effect through efforts in proven areas.
American Express: (www.americanexpress.co.jp | www.facebook.com/americanexpressjapan)
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. American Express opened its first Japanese branch in Yokohama in 1917, and continues to provide a high-quality service through its unique merchant network around the world, and its travel service locations in more than 140 countries.
Clinic Innovation Project:
The domestic healthcare environment is becoming increasingly harsh in light of Japan being faced with issues such as having of one of the world’s most superannuated societies and an uneven distribution of doctors. The Clinic Innovation Project was launched with three companies at its core – ITOCHU, GE Healthcare Japan and RF Co., Ltd. – with the aim of introducing and selling high-performance, high-quality and low-cost medical equipment and services to doctors’ and dentists’ offices and clinics nationwide, which are increasingly playing an important role as local centers for medical care and preventative medicine.
This project provides a unique and forward-looking sales platform that differs from the existing model of introducing and selling products where manufacturers and dealers of medical equipment make visits to hospitals. Under the project, sales are made by introducing products online and through means such as direct mailings. Doctors and other medical practitioners who are interested visit the showroom in front of Tokyo Station, where they can view the products and understand product features before making purchases. The showroom and Web site can also be used as places for doctors gathering medical care-related information and receiving medical-care related services.