Respect And Honour: Recognising The Outstanding Achievements In Orphan Drugs And Rare Diseases

In Orphan Drug Congress by Hugh Blackstaffe

Awards. Everyone loves getting an award, regardless for what it’s for. And the best kind of award is one that has truly been earned…not for just turning up or being popular. Recognition from peers for ones efforts in the face of significant challenge is perhaps the most wondrous thing one can receive. It validates us, it makes us feel toasty inside. And even if you don’t do it for the recognition or the fame or the glory, it still feels nice when someone gives you a pat on the back, a medal and a sausage roll for a job well done.

Last year saw the launch of the ROAR Awards, an award designed to recognise the best in biotech, market access and several other areas of the orphan drug sector. Most of the awards had an overall winner and a highly commended second place.

And herein lies the problem.

In a competition, it is fair that those competing are of an equal level so as to find a winner in the fairest manner possible. However, in the case of orphan drugs, it is difficult to pick a winner when everyone is working on such diverse and inherently different products. Putting a drug for a rare cancer up against a drug for a rare muscle disorder isn’t a fair competition, because they are so different. So this year, I’ve redesigned them…this year, I’ve made them better…


Let Me See Your ROAR Face

This year, we are having all new categories, focusing on outstanding achievements and outstanding individuals in the orphan drug and rare disease world. Instead of competition, we have recognition. And I should stipulate that all the recipients of the awards have been nominated by their peers…so if you have someone in mind that you’d like to nominate, please do so here.

This movement away from competition means that rather than having one group of people at the awards night celebrating and the rest disappointed, we can all celebrate the remarkable achievements that an individual or company have made. It’s not about saying one group is better than another, instead it’s about rewarding those who gone above and beyond or done something truly remarkable in the sector (between the dates of 1/11/13 and 2/10/14). This ensures that those who are nominated have done work that is recent, relevant and fresh enough that it hopefully will inspire others to do great things in the next year…because chances are we’ll be doing them again in 2015.

So, why should you nominate someone? Well, in the world of orphan drugs, comprising the entire orphan chain which includes everyone from patients to researchers to policy makers to regulators, there are so many stories of people doing great and wonderful things. Perhaps a company has got a brilliant number of drugs to market in a short period of time or perhaps someone has raised a remarkable amount of money for a rare disease charity. Perhaps someone has gone to extraordinary lengths in improving patient welfare, or maybe a start up company have made extraordinary progress in a short amount of time.

These are all things that should be recognised in the nominations for the ROAR Awards and rightly so. It’s important that we honour and recognise those that work hard, earn their reward and push themselves for the betterment of others. That is the aim of the ROAR Awards. It’s not about who is better than whom. It’s about those who have done exceptional and outstanding things.

It’s also about saying thanks. It’s about giving those who have overcome so much and achieved great things the respect and admiration of their peers.

Because at the end of the day, and we’ve worked as hard as we can, don’t we all want somebody to say “Well done, keep doing what you’re doing” and pat us on the back?

If you would like to nominate someone for a ROAR Award, please do so here. If you would like to attend the ROAR Awards, which are part of the World Orphan Drug Congress 2014, please visit the website.

I hope you enjoyed this blog.

Thanks for reading