Pfizer and Grunenthal have been named the inaugural winners of the PharmaTimes digital innovator of the year award in recognition of their excellence in embracing digital marketing. 

Presented at last night’s PharmaTimes Marketeer of the Year Awards, Grunenthal’s UK Senior Marketing Manager Matt Lowe was crowned Digital Innovator in the UK, while Pfizer’s European Brand Director Robert Collingbourne took home the European title.

This is the first time PharmaTimes has recognised digital excellence within the pharmaceutical industry and introduced the award this year to recognise the marketeers who are embracing the new opportunities presented by digital marketing in an innovative and ground breaking way but within the spirit and code of the relevant regulatory frameworks.

Other finalists nominated by agencies for the awards were: Ian Davidson of Shire; David McCormick of Roche; Nicola Forster of MSD; Daniel Coombes of Bayer; John Pugh of Boehringer Ingelheim and Richard Emmerson of Amgen.

Dominic Marchant, managing director of DJM Digital Solution (sponsors of the Digital Innovator categories), said: “The days of experimenting with digital in pharma are long gone – it is now one of the most important components of the marketing mix. There are several agencies producing fantastic digital output but none of this is of any consequence without pioneers from within the industry. These people need to be identified and celebrated as this will raise the digital bar within pharma.”

Besides the Digital Innovator awards, PharmaTimes also introduced the Patient App of the Year award. Five apps were shortlisted as the most doctor-recommended apps to patients based on two polls conducted by the category’s sponsors Binley’s OnMedica and The winning app was Myfitnesspal, which gives advice on fitness and diet. 

Mark Prince, director at Binley’s OnMedica, said the shortlisted apps all met the same need of providing patients with a mechanism to manage their conditions or symptoms. “Smartphones are fast becoming integral to the way we all manage our everyday lives. This provides a great opportunity for the modern pharmaceutical marketer to develop smartphone apps for patients, empowering them to take control of their conditions by providing support and information.”

Carwyn Jones, head of pharmaceutical sales and marketing at, added: “There are a huge number and variety of patient apps available, so this award is a great way of sorting the best from the rest. Many apps only get used once, failing to engage the patient, so recognition has been given where the technology has been shown to make a real and lasting difference. The key aspect of a successful application is that it satisfies a customer need. Each of the shortlisted provided real benefits to the end user.”

Excellent examples of joint or partnership working between the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry for the benefit of patients were also recognised last night. Queenswood Medical Practice, Crucell and Innovision Healthcare Services were crowned the winners of the award for their project Improving Health Inequalities in Vaccination Uptake.

Naima Khondkar, deputy section head – pharmaceutical industry policy industry sponsorship at Department of Health, said: “These awards are an important way to celebrate the success of joint working and recognise the benefits these projects achieve for the patient, the NHS and industry. I believe this award presented by PharmaTimes has, over the past few years, substantially helped increase awareness of this new way of working. I am consistently impressed by the excellent work carried out by all involved and enjoy being part of an award that celebrates this. The Department of Health is committed to this way of working and this is something we believe in, particularly in this climate and with the QIPP (quality, innovation, productivity and prevention) agenda, as a real means to deliver patient benefits.”

Nineteen companies were represented in the awards with wins going to: Paul Clark of Napp Pharmaceuticals for Aspiring Marketeer; Ash Miller of Ferring for New Marketeer; Daniel Selby of AstraZeneca for Senior Marketeer; Heike Gruetzmacher of Shire Germany for National Brand Manager; Michael Nedham of Shire Switzerland for Pan European Brand Manager; Bayer for Marketing Team; and Shire for Marketing Company of the Year. Meanwhile, ICC Lowe was named Communications Agency Team of the Year.

Mike Sanvoisin, general manager, UK, Ireland and South Africa, IMS Health (Sponsor of the Aspiring Marketeer Category) said: “The healthcare and pharma industry is going through an unparalleled period of change. Marketeers not only need to be aware of the latest industry trends and changes, but how to utilise the ever growing channels of communication and understand key audiences to ensure success. The PharmaTimes Marketeer award is one of the few marketing awards specifically designed for marketing professionals within the healthcare sector. Run by the leading pharma magazine, it is an award that is recognised in the industry and is synonymous with celebrating industry excellence. To win an award is not only a positive boost for the team or successful individuals, but it also provides the perfect platform for standing out in the current healthcare and pharma market.”

The PharmaTimes Marketeer of the Year Award is the only competition that is case-study based and focuses on individual and team marketing competencies, rather than assessing real in-market projects and campaigns thereby ensuring a level playing field for all participants, regardless of the size of their company, brand or agency and also removes any potential concerns that participants may have in sharing commercially sensitive marketing information.

PharmaTimes would like to thank the sponsors: Insight Research Group (Communications Agency Team); Binley’s OnMedica and (Patient App of the Year); DJM Digital Solutions (Digital Innovator of the Year); IMS Health (Aspiring Marketeer); Alchemist Consulting (New Marketeer); MSI Consultancy (Marketing Team); VirdisPharma (National Brand Manager); Dark Horse Agency (Pan European Brand Manager); STEM (Marketing Company of the Year).

For a full list of winners and images from the night go to (available from 1pm).