Reward science: Cipla’s Dr Hamied

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on March 06, 2019 Published on March 06, 2019

Dr YK Hamied, Chairman & Managing Director, Cipla Ltd

Urges for measures to keep medicines affordable

“Science has to be rewarded, not denied,” said Cipla doyen Dr YK Hamied, calling for a pragmatic policy approach towards making medicines affordable in India alongside the creation of a culture that encourages scientific and innovative thinking.

Dr Hamied was at an interaction to announce his continued support and expansion of the Inspirational Science Programme in India with the Royal Society of Chemistry. The Yusuf Hamied Inspirational Chemistry Programme has trained 23,000 teachers across 26 States in the four-year period upto 2018. In its second phase, it will train another 20,000 teachers.

“Of all the sponsorships I’ve given, this has been the most satisfying. The span and spread of the programmes has been most unimaginable,” he said, outlining the importance of training teachers who would, in turn, help students apply mind to a more scientific thinking that can be helpful in various fields including healthcare. Dr Hamied was donating nearly ₹17 crore to support both phases of the training programme.

Tools for public health

Pointing out that he was not against patents, Dr Hamied called for using the avenue of compulsory licensing (CL) and voluntary licensing to make medicines more affordable. “The government needs to step in with such measures on critical drugs,” he said, referring to pro-health groups’ calls for a CL on breakthrough tuberculosis drug Bedaquiline.

Citing the Gilead example, he said that more multinationals should be encouraged to enter into voluntary licensing agreement that would allow local companies to make their drugs on a royalty payment. Gilead had done so with its Hepatitis-C drug Sofosbovir which brought down prices for patients in India.

Expanding programme

Robert Parker, Chief Executive with the Royal Society of Chemistry, said that five years ago, the first phase of the programme started in Bangalore with the aim of providing access to modern and exciting chemistry to young people. “At 23,000 teachers, it was three times the original number of teachers they had set out to train,” he said.

Published on March 06, 2019
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