TOPPAN’s Impact

Under the key concept of "Digital & Sustainable Transformation," the TOPPAN Group seeks to be a leader in solving social issues worldwide through digital transformation (DX) and sustainable transformation (SX). Increasingly sophisticated medical care and changes in the fabric of society are transforming the type of medical care and services people need. In our healthcare business, we aim to address social issues and needs while working flexibly in partnership with other companies.

This feature introduces FamiMacy, a collaboration between TOPPAN and FamilyMart, which runs a convenience store business in Japan and overseas. What ideals connect the two companies, and what sort of future will the collaboration enable? We spoke to FamilyMart about this effort to solve social issues through collaboration.

Keisuke Nishimoto (right)
Creative Office & 8
FamilyMart Co., Ltd.

Masato Karube (left)
Online Healthcare Business Development Center
Business Development Division
TOPPAN Holdings Inc.

Rolling out the service online and via physical stores to get medicines to the people who need them as quickly as possible

We launched this initiative with FamiMacy about a year ago. We started to explore the idea of collaborating around the end of 2021. Okapi Pharmacy System is a TOPPAN Group company engaged in DX for healthcare. Since 2020, it has offered an online service called “Todokusuri” that delivers prescription drugs to people’s homes, making life much easier when it is difficult for patients to visit a pharmacy. From the start, however, we wanted to further evolve the business. The way we all live has undergone rapid change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw a need for a mechanism that would make it easy to pick up prescription drugs away from home, too.
When exploring ways to increase options for delivery, we learned that FamilyMart was experimenting with a service that lets people pick up prescription drugs at their stores. We therefore got in touch because we felt a collaboration would be ideal for advancing efforts to provide solutions on both sides.
We aim to offer diverse services and be an essential part of communities, not merely for convenience, but as a form of social infrastructure. When we asked consumers what sort of services they hope to see from convenience stores, many said they wanted to be able to pick up medicines. This gave rise to the concept of handing over prescription drugs at stores. What was the thinking behind TOPPAN's Todokusuri service?
The idea for Todokusuri came about because we saw a disconnect between the expected increase in online appointments, enabling people to receive medical consultations while at home, and the fact they would still have to pick up prescription drugs at a physical pharmacy. Todokusuri therefore connects hospitals, pharmacies, and patients online to enable prescription drugs to be delivered to homes.
So, your starting point was the inconvenience and challenges faced by patients. Todokusuri allows everything to be coordinated online, from consulting with doctors and receiving guidance from pharmacists to receiving medicine. What's wonderful about the system is that it was grounded in what patients want.
But the scope of a service is always going to be limited when it is online-only. There are elderly people who aren’t familiar with digital technology, as well as people who want to pick up medicine near their workplace instead of at home. As a place where everyone can easily pick up prescription drugs within their everyday routines, there's nowhere better than convenience stores. That’s why we wanted to collaborate with FamilyMart.
TOPPAN has a scheme that connects hospitals, pharmacies, and patients online, while we have physical stores that serve as local hubs. The collaboration was born from the two companies seeking to serve local communities and combine the merits of the online and the physical.

Building an operation that does not burden stores
Launch of an initiative with FamiMacy six months into the collaboration

TOPPAN created a scheme that extends to the delivery of prescription drugs to stores, which must have been quite difficult.
We were able to harness the business process outsourcing (BPO) experience and security management know-how employed in the Todokusuri service.
FamilyMart, too, must have experienced difficulties in rolling out FamiMacy at thousands of stores.
What we aimed for was not just prescription drug pickup at selected stores but a service that could be provided at essentially any store within the region, at any time during business hours. The cooperation of franchise stores is essential in achieving that. We had to explain why we were launching FamiMacy and how it works to all franchise stores and took care to get everyone on the same page, including dealing with the relevant authorities.
How did franchise stores react when you explained FamiMacy?
There was initially some concern, in part because prescription drugs are involved. Stores have many part-time workers, including some who may have started just that day, so it was natural for owners to be concerned. The thing that convinced them in the end was that TOPPAN devised an operational framework that avoided an increase in the burden on stores.
Under TOPPAN's scheme, even taking into consideration the priority on safety associated with pharmaceuticals, we were able to make the operation for delivering prescription drugs through FamiMacy nearly identical to our long-running operation for picking up products purchased via consumer e-commerce sites. There was no need for staff to learn new procedures for FamiMacy. TOPPAN's assistance and understanding of retail operations enabled us to launch the initiative with FamiMacy just six months into the collaboration.
We want to thank you personally for being onboard with the initiative. I don't think we could have done it without your efforts.
It was helpful to be able to leave interactions with relevant government agencies to TOPPAN. It meant we could focus on coordinating with our franchise stores.

Rolling out the initiative with FamiMacy at 4,500 stores in Tokyo and three prefectures
Pursuing further synergy and aiming for sustainable contribution to local communities

On May 26, 2022, we launched the initiative with FamiMacy at about 2,400 stores in Tokyo. It went smoothly, which gave confidence to stores in other regions. In February 2023, we expanded it to about 4,500 stores in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa.
When we put out a press release, it was picked up by a surprising number of media outlets. In addition to the fact that this initiative to deliver prescription drugs via thousands of stores was unparalleled in the convenience store industry, the service addressed a very strong latent need, which I think attracted a lot of attention.
We were also surprised at the magnitude of the response. The launch of the initiative with FamiMacy raised the profile of Todokusuri, and membership quickly increased 14-fold.
I hadn't heard that before. That's great news.
The next step is to expand the geographical footprint. FamilyMart has stores able to serve as regional hubs. We want to leverage that to expand into other regions.
I feel the same. Our goal at the start was to expand ways of picking up prescription drugs to align with diverse lifestyles. I feel that we're also contributing to solving social issues, such as helping people balance jobs with medical care, and alleviating the shortage of human resources in the logistics industry through more efficient delivery. Looking ahead, I think what will be particularly important is how we can expand this service to regions where medical resources are scarce. I think there are a lot of areas that have no pharmacies but do have FamilyMart stores. Going digital improves convenience for a lot of people, but there are also people who get left behind. I hope the TOPPAN Group can work with FamilyMart, with its physical stores serving as regional hubs, to advance remote medical care initiatives and other mechanisms that support medical care for entire regions, including elderly people unfamiliar with digital technologies.
That's exactly the vision that we have for our stores. People expect FamilyMart to serve as part of the infrastructure of their day-to-day lives. FamiMacy is one of our efforts to go beyond convenience and become an indispensable presence. I hope to continue our collaboration with TOPPAN to drive solutions to a wide range of social issues.
I hope to do the same. Thank you for your time today.
All information is current as of July 2023 (the time of the interview).

The TOPPAN Group established TOPPAN Business Action for SDGs to put sustainability management into practice and create social value through business-specific and Groupwide activities. It specifies using innovative digital technologies to enhance health as an area of focus. The Group has also set a priority on healthcare-related business in its new Medium Term Plan set out in May 2023.

The TOPPAN Group aims to realize a world in which everyone has access to adequate medical care and enjoys a fulfilling life, both mentally and physically. By accelerating digital and sustainability transformation (DX and SX) in cooperation with a wide variety of companies, communities, and local governments as well as strengthening collaboration within the Group, we will continue to take on the challenge of shaping a sustainable society through more dynamic and sophisticated businesses.

Comment from the coordinator

Nahomi Funahashi
ESG Communication Department
Public Relations Division
TOPPAN Holdings Inc.

This "Special Content" is part of a new series of features starting with this article. By speaking to people directly involved in the TOPPAN Group’s sustainability initiatives and strategies, we hope to communicate them in a more comprehensive way that goes beyond news releases and reports.

For this first installment, we have selected the healthcare business as an example of tackling social issues through our business. The interview allowed me to hear about the behind-the-scenes story of collaboration between the two companies and their shared ambition to solve social issues. It gave me a real insight into the significant potential for companies to contribute to sustainability through their business activities.

We will keep on making breakthroughs to achieve the TOPPAN Group's vision. Look out for the next installment.