Stop step-motherly treatment to pharma sector in India: Cipla

Hailing the British government's efforts in encouraging research and development in the pharmaceutical industry, Cipla chairman Yusuf Hamied has said the "step-motherly" treatment given to this sector in India has to stop.

In the wake of company's announcement in India of plans to invest 100 million pounds in its British subsidiary alongside the UK government, Hamied appealed to the Indian government to also do more in the field.

"This is something we Indians can take a lesson from the British as to how the British government here is encouraging us to come and do research with the benefits that they are giving us," Hamied said at a reception at the India House here last evening in recognition of his honorary degree conferred by Cambridge University recently.

"By and large the step-motherly treatment that we have got over the years has to stop and we have to be encouraged to do more," he said.

UK Chancellor George Osborne had yesterday announced Cipla's UK investment plans during his ongoing visit to India.

The funds are aimed at the launch of a range of drugs in the areas of respiratory, oncology and anti-retroviral segments.

Hamied expressed hope that the new Indian government would also take strong action over the issue of monopolies in the healthcare sector.

"I have been fighting with our Indian government that we should have a system so that there is no monopoly in healthcare; it is about saving lives and cannot be regarded totally as a business. There has to be a humanitarian approach to healthcare," the leading scientist and philanthropist said.

"Luckily for us, in the new government we have (finance minister) Arun Jaitley who represented our company (Cipla) in many cases against multi-nationals when he was free to act as a lawyer. He knows the whole subject of intellectual property inside-out," Hamied said.

"One satisfaction that I have is that he won't sell the company out as far as intellectual property is concerned and hopefully India will decide its own destiny in healthcare and pass laws that benefit our country," he said.

Hamied was joined at the special reception by Sir Tejinder Virdee, an experimental physicist, who was recently knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to science.

The Indian-origin professor from Imperial College in London is best known for his work on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva.

"Looking ahead a little bit, finding the Higgs Boson has posed a conundrum. It implies that there is some new physics around and that is setting us up for the next 15-20 years," he said in reference to CERN's ground-breaking discovery of what is referred to as the "God particle".

"We are extremely proud that Sir Tejinder has been knighted and his work in the field of Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) has been so well recognised," said Indian High Commissioner to the UK Ranjan Mathai.

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