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Discoverers Awards

Pharmaceutical research scientists devote their lives to the challenging, but rewarding pursuit of discovering new medicines. Although it takes an average of 10 to 15 years to develop one new medicine and the vast majority of investigational drugs never reach approval, these researchers are dedicated to finding medicines that will help patients.

To honor these people, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) presented the Discoverers Award each year from 1987-2011 to scientists whose research and development of new medicines have greatly benefited humankind, and whose dedication and interest in improving the quality of life exemplify the best in the research industry.

Through their stories, you can find out what it is like to be a discoverer. Click on a year below to read the story behind a breakthrough:   



2011 - Januvia® (type 2 diabetes) 


2010 - Selzentry® (human immunodeficiency virus)


2009 - Gardasil® (quadrivalent human papillomavirus)


2008 - Coreg® (cardiovascular disease)


2007 - Zyvox® (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, other multi-resistant strains)

2006 - Zetia® (high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease)

2005 - Prevnar® (pneumococcal disease in young children)

2004 - Gleevec® (chronic myeloid leukemia, gastrointestinal stromal tumor)

2002 - Celebrex® (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, pain)

2001 - Enbrel® (rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis)

2000 - Zyprexa® (schizophrenia)

1999 - Protease Inhibitors (HIV/AIDS)

1998 - Zofran®, Kytril® (emesis prevention (nausea and vomiting usually associated with chemotherapy), Imitrex® (migraine)

1996 - Exosurf® (infant respiratory distress syndrome)

1995 - Epogen® (kidney dialysis-induced anemia)

1994 - Diflucan® (anti-fungal)

1993 - Prozac® (depression)

1992 - Mevacor® (high cholesterol)

1991 -  OKT®3 (immunosuppressant for organ transplants), Minipress® (high blood pressure), Ethrane® and Forane® (anesthetics)

1990 - Capoten® (high blood pressure), Zovirax® (antiviral)

1989 - Mectizan® (onchocerciasis/river blindness), Xanax® (panic attacks), Halcion® (insomnia)

1988 - Diuril® (diuretic/high blood pressure), Inderal® (high blood pressure), Tagamet®(ulcer), Sandimmune® (immunosuppressant for organ transplants), Nor-QD® (oral contraceptive)

1987 - Imuran® (immunosuppressant), Purinethol® (leukeumia), Zyloprim® (gout), Haldol® (psychosis/schizophrenia), cephalosporin antibiotics, Capoten® (high blood pressure), benzodiazepines (mental disorders)