Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

© Asian Media Group - 2024


Dr Yusuf Hamied


IN THE pharmaceutical world, there are many giant multinationals but there is probably no individual more influential or respected than Yusuf Hamied of Cipla. Dr Hamied, who is chairman of the Indian pharma company, has ploughed millions into charitable causes aimed at helping the march of medical science. He has always believed that selling medicines cannot ever be just a cold hearted profit and loss transactional business.

He says there has to be a humanitarian aspect to pharmacy, which is why in the late 1990s and thereafter, he stepped in when HIV was raging across Africa. It was a virtual death sentence for anyone with AIDS. Patients could not afford the drugs that western companies were marketing. So, Hamied ensured that Cipla supplied a cocktail of retroviral drugs at the cost of “a dollar a day”, which saved an estimated 10 to 15 million people. The Indian high commissioner in London, Vikram Doraiswami, recalled Hamied’s contribution in the battle against AIDS when he ad dressed a function last summer at Christ’s College, Cambridge. This was Hamied’s alma mater where he had once done an undergraduate degree and a PhD in chemistry before returning to India in 1960 to begin working at Cipla, a company his father had founded in 1935.

Doraiswami was speaking at the inauguration of “Hamied Court”, a four-storey building at Christ’s with 64 rooms for postgraduates and fellows from around the world. It was funded by a charitable foundation set up by Hamied and his wife, Farida. Doraiswami recommended a film, Fire in the Blood, on how Hamied had angered western pharma giants by undercutting their astronomic prices. “For those of you who have not seen this documentary directed by a Canadian filmmaker, Dylan Gray, I do urge you to watch it, because you will understand why

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