Yusuf Hamied Biography

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Name Yusuf Hamied
Born on 25 July,1936
Place of Birth Vilnius, Lithuania
Education PhD in Chemistry, Cambridge University.
Works for Cipla Limited
Position Chairman and Managing Director
Valued at US $2.0 Billion
Married to Farida Hamied


Yusuf Hamied was born into a religiously diverse family. His father,Khwaja Abdul Hamied, founder of Cipla, was an Indian Muslim, while his mother was a Russophone Jew. He married Farida.


  • Born in Lithuania, Yusuf was raised up in Bombay.
  • He went to Cathedral and John Cannon School. He was fondly referred to as, Yuku by his close friends.
  • He further pursued higher education in Organic Chemistry, under the guidance of Alexander Todd, a recipient of Nobel Prize in the field of Chemistry.
  • Subsequently, at the age of 23,he completed his PhD in the same subject from Christ College, Cambridge.


  • In 1960, Dr. Hamied joined Cipla limited as an officer-in-charge of research and development.

  • He had to take permission from the government to work in his father's company, due to the prevailing 'British raj'.

  • His initial salary was set at 1500 for 3 years, and he received his first salary only after working for a full one year.

  • Once permitted to work, he realized that every major drug he wanted to manufacture was covered by patents, export was nearly impossible, and the domestic market largely belonged to the MNCs.

  • Hence, with the agenda of changing India's patent laws; he formed the Indian Drug Manufactures Association in 1961.

  • Finally, in 1972, their efforts paid off, by providing the Indian Pharma industry the legal freedom to manufacture and market any drug required in the country.

  • This major development acted out as a boon to the Indian pharma industry.

  • Today, the country is a major supplier of API and formulations, along with highest number of FDA certified manufacturing plants.

  • Cipla, under Yusuf's leadership played a major role in creating substitutes for imports, changing it into a self sufficient enterprise and placing it at the position of high quality exports.


  • Khawaj Abdul Hamied, set up the Chemical,Industrial and Pharmaceutical laboratories( CIPLA) in 1935.

  • It was registered with a capital of Rs. 6 lakhs as a public limited company.

  • The founder gave all his patents and proprietary formulas of drugs and medicines to the company, without charging any royalty for it, bringing out his selfless love and sincerity towards it.

  • Bellasis road houses its main office, which had been initially taken on a lease for 20 years at a monthly rental of Rs.350.

  • Today, Cipla is amongst world's largest producers of low-cost antiretroviral drugs for AIDS.

  • It is the nation's largest pharma company by sales, and has successfully established great reputation for itself in the East.

  • It has made a major claim that every third third person treated in Africa of AIDS, intakes Cipla drugs.

  • AZT, d4T, 3TC, ddI, nevirapine, and efavirenz are some of the drugs produced and bought by the company.

  • The future plans of the company include working towards acquiring biologics expertise.Recently, it made a $65 million investment in Goa in Shanghai-based BioMab and MabPharm.

  • Biosimilars can prove up to be 'the-next-big' challenge to Cipla, as it would have to acquire expertise in a new field and also compete with MNCs. At 74, Dr Hamied is set to undertake it with the old zeal and confidence.


  • Initially, the company had to close down upon manufacturing of AZT, the only known therapy to combat Aids, because of poor sales.

    Even after lowering down its cost to $2 compared to international prices of $12, it continued to be too costly for patients in India. But in 2001, they further dropped the price to $ 1 to help people, and this act generated undisputed respect for him, all over.

  • Cipla has also faced challenges in India and abroad from multinational pharmaceutical companies seeking to protect their patents on particular medications, including antiretroviral drugs used to combat HIV infections in countries like South Africa.


  • India's leading drug-maker and forbes billionaire, Yusuf Hamied is present in the pharmaceutical business for 48 years, and has earned respect for himself at national and international level.

  • He is a highly qualified chemist.

  • Under Yusuf's leadership, Cipla became the first company to offer the triple drug cocktail, Triomune that helps fight against HIV and AIDS at prices lower than those available internationally.

  • In 1990's, he set up a care unit for cancer patients in Pune, providing them comfort.
He has been bestowed many honours, including:
  • The country's highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan by the President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam in 2005.
  • Two Chemexcil Awards for exports (1979 and 1982)
  • Sir P. C. Ray Award for development of indigenous technology (1983).
  • A National Award from the Department of Science and Technology,Government of India for successful commercialization of publicly funded R & D.
  • In 2002, he received another Lifetime Achievement award from Express Pharma Pulse.
  • Dr. Hamied was elected a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, UK in 2004.
His contribution to India and the world is truly inspiring, and practically unforgettable.

Last Updated on 12/23/2011