The Pharmaguy™ Pioneer Award

Since 2010, the Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer Award, better known as the “Pharmaguy Pioneer Award” for short has recognized a pharmaceutical executive or team who has “pioneered” in the use of social media/mobile for marketing, research, or corporate communications purposes. 

Rather than recognizing specific campaigns, the Pharmaguy™ Pioneer Award gives kudos to a pharmaceutical executive or team who has “pioneered” in the use of social media and/or mobile for marketing, research, patient support, or corporate communications purposes. 

The yellow and black Hawaiian shirt, which began as an outlandish ploy to grab attention and stand out from the crowd, is the symbol of the Pharmaguy Pioneer Award. The shirt has gradually become one of the most iconic and recognizable trophies in digital pharmaceutical marketing (read “History of the Pharmaguy Pioneer Hawaiian Shirt“). 

Pioneers overcame many obstacles to launch social media and mobile projects or to promote social media and mobile within their organizations. We can learn a great deal from their experiences — even if the end result was flawed or failed to meet its goals. Marketing campaigns and Web sites come and go, but pioneers move on to new positions and continue to spread their influence far and wide.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

The 2015 Award Winner 

The 2015 award went to the Bayer HealthCare Grants4Apps (#G4A) team. 

Team Members Include:

  • Esther-Kristin Lather, Program Manager (left in photo)
  • Jesus del Valle, Head of Grants4Apps (center in photo)
  • Mathilde Saingeon, Match Maker (right in photo)
  • Jannis Busch, Operations (not shown)

The Bayer HealthCare Grants4Apps™ program invites health app developers to submit their innovative app ideas for novel software that contributes to improving health outcomes or pharmaceutical processes. Bayer HealthCare considers an “App” as software solution based on any platform. The program offers dedicated office space for five digital health startups to support them in further advancing their projects and business models. Each startup receives up to 50,000 Euros. Bayer offers experienced managers as coaches to the startups, in addition to intensive mentoring by external entrepreneurs. 

View the SlideShare Presentation for more details. 



Past Winners

  1. 2010First Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer Award Given to Janssen’s Alex Butler
  2. 2011:AZ’s Tony Jewell Receives 2nd Annual Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer Award
  3. 2012Dennis Urbaniak, Joan Mikardos, and Laura Kolodjeski of Sanofi US Receive the 3rd PharmaGuy Social Media Pioneer Award
  4. 2013Davide Bottalico and the Roche Digital Academy Team Receive the 4th Annual Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer Award!
  5. 2014The Boehringer Ingelheim Social Media Team Receives 5th Annual PharmaGuy Social Media Pioneer Award!

What are the qualifications for this prestigious award?

First, a pioneer must have worked within a pharmaceutical, medical device, or biotech company when he or she was instrumental in launching a noteworthy social media and/or mobile project or who has championed the use of social media and/or mobile within their organizations. Although some pioneers have subsequently moved on to other positions in non-pharma companies, they are still eligible to receive the Pharmaguy Pioneer Award.

Second, this person (or persons) must have been a true social media/mobile pioneer. By that I mean someone who has been involved from the early days in marshaling the forces necessary to ultimately build a social media and/or mobile campaign. No matter if the campaign has been a failure. We often learn more from our failures than from our successes.

The type of social media/mobile activity is immaterial as long as it clearly was a “first” or advanced the use of social media and/or mobile by their companies.

This is NOT a popularity contest. Those recognized are chosen solely by Pharmaguy based on his evaluation of merit. Your input, however, will help Pharmaguy discover new candidates and your comments will influence his choice. 

History of the Pharmaguy Pioneer Hawaiian Shirt