Yusuf Hamied

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Yusuf Hamied
Born 1936 (age 78–79)
Vilnius, Lithuania
Citizenship India
Institutions Cipla
Alma mater Christ's College, Cambridge
Thesis Chemistry of the aphins (1961)
Influences Alexander Todd[1]
Notable awards Padma Bhushan

Yusuf Khwaja Hamied (born 1936) is a leading Indian scientist and chairman of Cipla, a socially conscious generic pharmaceuticals company founded by his father Khwaja Abdul Hamied in 1935.[2]

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour by Government of India in 2005. [3]

Early life and background[edit]

Born in Vilnius, Lithuania,on July 25th 1936. Yusuf Hamied was raised in Bombay. His Indian Muslim father and Russophone Jewish mother met in pre-war Berlin, where they both were graduate students. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Christ's College, Cambridge. He still uses his chemistry notebooks from Cambridge when he develops new syntheses of drugs.[4]

He is an alumnus of the Cathedral and John Connon School in Bombay. Affectionately called Yuku by his close friends, Hamied is fond of Western classical music and has been close friends with the world-famous conductor Zubin Mehta since boyhood.


Hamied is best known outside India for defying large Western pharmaceutical companies in order to provide generic AIDS drugs and treatments for other ailments primarily affecting people in poor countries. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2005.

Hamied has led efforts to eradicate AIDS in the developing world and to give patients life-saving medicines regardless of their ability to pay,[5] and has often been characterized as a modern-day Robin Hood figure[6][7][8][9] as a result.

Former head of Johnson and Johnson Ajit Dangi says plainly "In Africa, Cipla is a temple and Dr. Hamied is God." [10] To this Hamied has countered "I don't want to make money off these diseases which cause the whole fabric of society to crumble". [11]

In September 2011, in a piece about how he was trying to radically lower costs of biotech drugs for cancer, diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases, The New York Times wrote of Hamied:

Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman of the Indian drug giant Cipla Ltd., electrified the global health community a decade ago when he said he could produce cocktails of AIDS medicines for $1 per day — a fraction of the price charged by branded pharmaceutical companies. That price has since fallen to 20 cents per day, and more than six million people in the developing world now receive treatment, up from little more than 2,000 in 2001.[12]

Yusuf Hamied has also been enormously influential in pioneering development of multi-drug combination pills (also known as fixed-dose combinations, or FDCs), notably for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), asthma and other ailments chiefly affecting developing countries, as well as development of pediatric formulations of drugs, especially those benefiting children in poor settings.[13] These innovations have greatly expanded access to medicine and increased drug safety by ensuring proper dosages are taken. He is also highly regarded for his leading role in expanding the production of bulk drugs and "active pharmaceutical ingredients" (APIs, the active chemical components in medicines) in India.[14]

In 2009 the Yusuf Hamied Centre was opened at Christ's College, Cambridge.[1][15]

Yusuf Hamied has been the subject of in-depth profiles in The New York Times, Time magazine, The Guardian, Le Monde, The Economist, the Financial Times, The Times (London), Corriere della Sera, Der Spiegel, Wired and numerous other leading publications, as well as on television outlets such as ABC News, the BBC, CNN and CBS' 60 Minutes.

In February 2013, he announced his retirement plans from Cipla after remaining managing director of the company for last 52 years. [16] At the time, he was 28th richest Indian as per Forbes. [17]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Yusuf Hamied was awarded the 'CNN-IBN Indian of the Year' in the category of business by CNN-IBN in 2012 for "for taking on multinational pharma companies and making some of the essential drugs more affordable to the masses in the developing countries. In late 2013, he was also named one of the India's "25 Greatest Global Living Legends" by news broadcaster NDTV.[18][19]


Yusuf Hamied's critical role in the battle for mass antiretroviral treatment in Africa is portrayed in the award-winning documentary Fire in the Blood (2013 film).[20]


  1. ^ a b "Christ’s officially opens Yusuf Hamied Centre". University of Cambridge News. 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  2. ^ Sarah Boseley (2003-02-18). "Yusuf Hamied, generic drugs boss | World news". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  3. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2009)". Ministry of Home Affairs. 
  4. ^ Selling Cheap 'Generic' Drugs, India's Copycats Irk Industry, By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr, New York Times, December 01, 2000.
  5. ^ "Interview of the week: Yusuf Hamied. - United Press International | HighBeam Research - FREE trial". Highbeam.com. 2001-02-22. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  6. ^ "[Esplora il significato del termine: Yusuf Hamied, un Robin Hood contro l’ Aids "Così sconfiggerò l’ Aids senza le multinazionali"] Yusuf Hamied, un Robin Hood contro l' Aids "Così sconfiggerò l' Aids senza le multinazionali"". 
  7. ^ Bobin, Frédéric (2010-07-06). "India fears generic drugs for poor are endangered by proposed EU trade deal". The Guardian (London). 
  8. ^ "Dr. Hamied Robin Hood spoof film posters". 
  9. ^ "Robin Hood and the Multinationals". 
  10. ^ Hans Lofgren, The Politics of the Pharmaceutical Industry and Access to Medicine, 2012, p. 55
  11. ^ Hans Lofgren, The Politics of the Pharmaceutical Industry and Access to Medicine, 2012, p. 68
  12. ^ Harris, Gardiner (2011-09-18). "China and India Making Inroads in Biotech Drugs". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Hans Lofgren, The Politics of the Pharmaceutical Industry and Access to Medicine, 2012, p. 58-59
  14. ^ Hans Lofgren, The Politics of the Pharmaceutical Industry and Access to Medicine, 2012, p. 63
  15. ^ "The Hindu News Update Service". Chennai, India: Hindu.com. 2009-04-22. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  16. ^ "Grand old man of Cipla Yusuf K Hamied hangs his boots". Economic Times. Feb 7, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  17. ^ "Yusuf Hamied". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  18. ^ "Dr. Yusuf Hamied message on being CNN-IBN's Indian of The Year 2012 in the business category". CNN-IBN. Dec 17, 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  19. ^ http://www.cipla.com/Home/Other/2013-Award.aspx
  20. ^ http://fireintheblood.com/the-contributors