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CIPLA Limited
Headquarters Mumbai, India
Key people Y. K. Hamied (CMD), Chairman
Revenue Rs. 37.6 billion (~939M USD) (2006)
Net income Rs. 9.1 billion (2006)
Employeesover 7,000

Cipla, originally founded as The Chemical, Industrial & Pharmaceutical Laboratories is a prominent Indian pharmaceutical company, best-known outside its home country for producing low-cost anti-AIDS drugs for HIV-positive patients in developing countries. The company was founded in 1935 by Khwaja Abdul Hamied, and its chairman today is Yusuf Hamied (b. 1936), the founder's eldest son.

Cipla and the Fight against HIV/AIDS in the Developing World

Today (2007), Cipla is the world's largest manufacturer of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to fight HIV/AIDS, as measured by units produced and distributed (multinational brand-name drugs are much more expensive, so in money terms Cipla medicines are probably somewhere down the list). Roughly 40% of HIV/AIDS patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy worldwide take Cipla drugs. Ranked third in Generic market share statistics in South African Private Sector.

Because Indian law from 1972 has allowed no (end-product) patents on drugs, and provided for compulsory licensing, Cipla was able to manufacture medicines which enjoy patent monopoly in certain other countries (particularly those where large, multinational pharmaceutical companies are based). By doing so, as well as by making an executive decision not to make profits on AIDS medication, Cipla reduced the cost of providing antiretrovirals to AIDS patients from $12,000 and beyond (monopoly prices charged by international pharma conglomerates) down to around $300 per year. Today they are able to do so for under $150 per patient per year. While this sum remains out of reach for many millions of people in Third World countries, government and charitable sources often are in a position to make up the difference for destitute patients.

The customary treatment of AIDS consists of a cocktail of three drugs. Cipla produces an all-in-one pill called Triomune which contains all three substances (Lamivudine, stavudine and Nevirapine), something difficult elsewhere because the three patents are held by different companies. One more popular fixed dose combination is there, with the name Duovir-N. This contains Lamivudine, Zidovudine and Nevirapine.

AHF Campaign

In August of 2007 Cipla was confronted by a US-based group known as AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) with a well-funded campaign of full-page ads in various Indian newspapers suggesting Cipla was pricing an AIDS drug called Viraday higher in India than in Africa.[1]

In response to AIDS Healthcare Foundation's claims Cipla issued a short statement pointing out that the company had not sold a single pack of Viraday in Africa. It also underlined that Cipla sells its other AIDS drugs to the Indian government at the same prices it sells to Africa, and questioned AHF's agenda.[3] According to AHF and news reports, Cipla threatened a defamation lawsuit against the organization.

On August 21, 2007 the Indian Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) announced that it would look into Cipla's pricing and claims made by AHF. [2]

On September 1, 2007, The Economic Times of Delhi wrote that:

It has now emerged that Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the US-based NGO that accused Cipla of over pricing anti-AIDS drug, Viraday, in India is part funded by American anti-AIDS drug maker Gilead and the NGO's treasurer is a senior Gilead executive.

This is largely the reason why foreign and Indian NGOs such as Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), Indian Network of Positive People (INP+), Sahara and others refused to be part of AHF's anti-Cipla campaign.

Cipla is also the only Indian company opposing Gilead's patent application for its blockbuster anti-HIV drug Viread in India. The hearing for the patent case of Viread is due in October. ... Says a head of an NGO, who did not participate in the anti-Cipla campaign: “There is a conflict of interest in the campaign. AHF is funded by multinational pharma companies. A senior Gilead executive is one of the directors of AHF and the campaign choose to target Cipla for over pricing at a time when it is fighting Gilead's patent case in India. There is a discomfort and many civil society groups decided to stay away from the campaign.”[4]


  1. ^ [1] AIDS Healthcare Foundation's official release on Cipla's overpricing in India, August 08, 2007
  2. ^ [2] Economic Times, August 21, 2007
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cipla". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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