Tuesday, I had the opportunity to dine with a Nobel Peace Prize winner and five Nobel laureates. It’s not often that these people are in the same room (let alone with me) – but then again, the Prix Galien Awards Gala is not your ordinary event.

Often called “the Nobel Prize of the pharmaceutical industry,” the Prix Galien USA recognizes excellence in research, development and innovation in biopharmaceuticals and medical devices. On October 28th, the Awards Committee announced this year’s honorees at the eighth annual Prix Galien Awards Gala.

Chosen for their contributions to scientific innovation that advance human health, Prix Galien USA 2014 Award winners included Gilead Sciences’ Sovaldi® for best pharmaceutical agent; New York Blood Center’s Howard P. Milstein Cord Blood Center for HEMACORD® (HPC, Cord Blood) for best biotechnology product; and Stryker for Trevo® ProVue™ Retriever for best medical technology.

Stopping to consider the technological and human health achievements of each of these honorees (and their fellow nominees) was awe-inspiring. Perhaps the most moving part of the evening was the 2014 Pro Bono Humanum Award, recognizing exemplary and innovative efforts in improving the human condition. Presented to Doctors Without Borders founder Dr. Bernard Kouchner, the award was introduced by honorary Prix Galien USA committee member and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Elie Wiesel, who asked the audience to consider ‘why we are all here on earth’ – and tasked the renowned crowd to continue doing work that benefits the common good – not only for those who can afford it, but more importantly, for those who can’t.

Wiesel’s remarks impacted me profoundly – reminding me why I got into healthcare PR in the first place. I’ve always felt a calling to help those around me. Whether it’s through advocacy work or spearheading national awareness initiatives, as PR practitioners we help highlight the need for continued innovation throughout the field of healthcare – and help ensure that patients in need are empowered to speak with their doctors, are educated about options to help them lead healthier lives, and can access the quality care and medicines that protect and improve their well-being.

Listening to the remarks delivered by luminaries of science and medicine, along with accomplished health sector leaders – including Makovsky’s own Gil Bashe, who gave an impassioned speech on healthcare innovation – was inspiring and invigorating. The call to action from across the healthcare landscape is clear: we must continue to strive for excellence and hold innovation in the highest esteem. In doing so, we have the power to change the face of society as we know it – improving global health, one individual at a time.

In moments of personal reflection, I think we all ask ourselves why we do what we do. As Professor Elie Wiesel so aptly put it, “there is so much yet to learn, that’s why.”

– Bryan Gibbs

thought leadership


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