Hamied of Cipla honored in U.K., protests Western patent tactics

Cipla's chairman Yusuf Hamied has been honored with a bust at his U.K. alma mater for supplying low-cost AIDS and malaria treatments to Africa, an action that bucks the Western pharma establishment, he says. The bust was unveiled at Christ's College in Cambridge earlier this month.  

"Our drugs are much, much cheaper," said Hamied, in India's MidDay. "What we sell today for $100 you will pay $4,000 for in the U.S." He said 90% of all AIDS drugs now come from India, and Cipla holds 20% market share.

Hamied railed against unnamed Western drug companies that have accused Cipla and other Indian companies of manufacturing counterfeit drugs, a charge trumped up by the use of what he calls "counterfeit patents," the result of "underhanded tricks" to extend patent protection. He cited the recent incident in which Dutch border officials confiscated drugs headed for Peru as they passed through Amsterdam. The drugs "were legal in India, legal in Peru." Dutch officials said they were counterfeit, "but the goods were not meant for Holland," Hamied said in the article.

"We don't make any money on this," he said of Cipla's humanitarian efforts, in the article. "Every year we run at a loss." The $100 million in drugs that Cipla exports to Africa would sell for $4 billion in the U.S., he said, calculating the drugmaker does "more humanitarian work than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett put together."

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