Pandemic flags need for every nation to be self-reliant: Cipla chief

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on August 28, 2020

At the company’s AGM, YK Hamied, Chairman traces its role in the battle, from HIV/AIDS to Covid-19

Cipla is at the forefront in the battle against Covid-19 and along with its partners, has a range of drugs to improve treatment access, said YK Hamied, Cipla Chairman, tracing the drugmaker’s role from the global battle against HIV/AIDS in 2001 to its latest contribution to fighting the novel coronavirus.

“Today, we are confronted with an unprecedented global crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused massive disruptions globally across every aspect of human life. This had led to an adverse economic, political and social impact on people, communities and countries everywhere. It is a fact that the strength of a country’s economy depends on the health of its population,” he told shareholders in a webcast at the company’s Eighty-Fourth Annual General Meeting on Thursday evening.

First triple antiretroviral drug

“In 2001, in the global fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Cipla developed the world’s first triple antiretroviral drug combination, Triomune and offered it at below $1 per day as against the then prevailing international pricing of $12,000-$15,000 per year. This was a global health breakthrough and Triomune along with similar drugs became accessible for all. It opened the door for the treatment of HIV/AIDS across the third world countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.


In addition to this, Cipla played a role during the Anthrax scare earlier this century, and offered Ciprofloxacin tablets to many countries, he said pointing to the company’s production of Antiflu (Oseltamivir) to fight Bird-flu and Virenza (Zanamivir) for Swineflu.

Pointing to Cipla’s role in Covid-19 treatment, he outlined Cipremi (Remdesivir), Ciplenza (Favipiravir) and Actemra (Tocilizumab), that are presently marketed by the drugmaker.

Also read: Strong sales lift Cipla’s Q1 net profit 27 per cent to ₹566 cr

Further, he said, the company had a dedicated fund “to support patients, augment the healthcare ecosystem and sustain communities.” The Cipla Foundation had supported advanced testing initiatives, setting up of isolation wards in hospitals or patients and has launched a spate of relief efforts with supplies of medicines, essential hygiene items and food for communities across India and South Africa, he said.

Respiratory diseases

Hamied also put the spotlight on Cipla’s treatments for respiratory diseases in India over the past six decades. “We imported aerosol inhalers way back in the late 1950’s and subsequently manufactured and marketed in India, aerosols, nebulisers, nasal sprays for respiratory disease along with newer devices and novel innovations,” he said. And recently Cipla obtained regulatory approval in the United States for albuterol metered dose inhaler, the first Indian aerosol product to be marketed in the USA, he said.

The pandemic has made companies redefine and reimagine the future, he said, adding that it had also served “as a wake-up call spotlighting the need for every nation to be self-reliant.” Cipla’s philosophy of self-reliance and self-sufficiency and aim to provide universal access to affordable medicines has become even more critical today, he said, adding “The government’s recent moves to promote domestic manufacturing of critical bulk drugs are certainly a step in the right direction towards creating a self-reliant pharma ecosystem in the country.”


Published on August 28, 2020

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