28 July, 2021

Y.K. Hamied, Cipla

Hamied played a key role in forming the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association and successfully lobbied for patent law changes in the country.

Photograph by Soumik Kar
Y.K. Hamied, Cipla
  • Hamied stepped down as the MD in 2013 after four decades at the helm.


In the three minutes that Dr Yusuf Khwaja Hamied was given to speak at European Commission’s roundtable conference in Brussels in September 2000, he stunned the world. His company Cipla, he said, was ready to offer a generic triple drug combination to treat HIV/AIDS at $800 per person per year. This, when the prevailing price charged by the multinational drug companies was around $12,000 at the time. The help from the ‘third world’, which Hamied represented, came at a time when the enormity of the HIV crisis, especially in the least developing parts of the world, was still unravelling. Hamied also offered technical knowhow to developing countries who wanted to produce their own HIV drug.

A few months later, Cipla was to offer the antiretroviral triple-drug cocktail ‘Triomune’ to Médecins sans Frontières at less than $1 per patient per day, a feat that made global headlines. The drug has reached more...

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