terça-feira, dezembro 26, 2006
Cipla, o tesouro de Mumbai
To Big Pharma, Indian drugmaker Cipla is a pirate operation. To the developing world, it's a vital medicine chest. And now its cheap pills are coming to a pharmacy near you.
FORTY YEARS AGO, A BRITISH COMPANY called ICI Pharmaceuticals developed a potent high blood pressure medication called propranolol. It was the first beta blocker, a class of drugs that inhibits fight-or-flight hormones like adrenaline. But it was expensive. So Yusuf Hamied, a 34-year-old chemist at an Indian drugmaker, got his company to start manufacturing a cheaper version. ICI protested to the Indian government, and Hamied found himself face to face with prime minister Indira Gandhi. "Should millions of Indians be denied the use of a lifesaving drug just because the originator doesn't like the color of our skin?" he asked her.