The wheel takes its time to turn the full circle

The wheel takes its time to turn the full circle. When HIV-AIDS had taken its hold over major parts of the world, poverty-stricken patients in the continents of Asia and Africa were in no position to buy expensive big pharma manufactured medicine to save themselves from death. Big pharma, in the name of amassing more wealth to fund further research and development projects, refused to reduce price of those life-saving drugs.

There was dire need of affordable medicine to save those poor suffering millions. In such a scenario, it was the Khaja Abdul Hameid established, Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company CIPLA that came forward with their modestly-priced life-saving HIV-AIDS drugs as the saviour of those poor patients. CIPLA was formed with the intention of manufacturing cheaper medicine so that the teeming millions of India should be able to find a cure and help themselves. This altruistic motto of business goes a long in reducing suffering of the poor in the world.

This was not the only instance where they had played a stellar role in providing affordable medicine to the desease-afflicted millions. Abdul Hamied’s CIPLA had produced cheap medicines for the treatment of TB and malaria in India. It was a tweak of the patent policy on the suggestion of Abdul’s son Yousuf Abdul Hameid to the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, that has helped them much: instead of registering patent of the drug in its name as such, only the manufacturing process of the drug should be patented. Indira had the good sense and the foresight to accept this sound advice and brought about required changes in the patent law that has made it legally possible for CIPLA to produce cheap medicine for the poor, as that’s the purpose of their business.

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This has understandably angered the West based big pharma companies who were making huge profits by producing drugs for such life-threatening ailments and selling them at huge margins. They tried all legal means to create hurdles in the path of Yousuf Abdul Hameid to stop him from manufacturing and selling cheap medicine to the huge population of Asia and Africa. However law is on the side of Abdul Hamied that has enabled CIPLA to go on producing such drugs.

Enters an obscure US-based laboratory which, with the help of a dubious testing process, finds that the antacid Ranitidine to be cancer causing – this revelation caused a sensation in the world of drugs; some hospitals and pharmacies in the USA stopped prescribing and selling this cheap ORC antacid medicine, when even the FDA of the USA has not yet banned it. It would be interesting to note that cheap Ranitidine is produced and supplied to third world countries by, yes Abdul Hamied’s Cipla. So big pharma seems to have found a way to get back at their Indian business rival with the help of a questionable testing method to find NDMA levels higher in Ranitidine. When Ranitidine is tested at very high heat, it shows NDMAs levels as high – whereas Ranitidine is neither stored at high heat nor is the human body temperature so high to render NDMA cancerous. That’s why FDA has not banned Ranitidine.

However it’s still more interesting to note that Donald Trump has requested and even threatened India with retaliatory action if the drug Hydroxychloroquin manufactured by Hamied’s CIPLA is not supplied to the USA for the treatment of Covid-19. Such pressure by Trump is brought upon Narender Modi for the supply of this drug on the strength of the advise from the Turkish-American doctor and TV personality Dr Mehmet Cengiz Oz who is one of the health advisors to the US President. The Indian prime minister was already seized of the matter, as Hydroxychloroquin is on the control list of exports, and can be sent out only if the indian leader permits it. The world is a witness to all the drama played out between the US president and the Indian prime minister for a drug manufactured by Hamied’s Cipla. The indian leader promptly accepted the request and not only was the drug supplied to the USA, it was also sent to suffering European countries such as Germany, France, UK, European countries such as Germany, France, UK, Spain, Italy and others.

History will record this yeoman humanitarian service of a Muslim businessman Yousuf Abdul Hamied’s CIPLA who produced and supplied Hydroxychloroquin to the highly developed suffering western countries as well as the under-developed countries of the world, apart from treating our own people back home.

This is sweet when seen in the context of the socio-political scenario as obtaining in the country. The radical Sangh Parivar is attacking Indian Muslims by politically prosecuting them. They passed anti Muslim law recently in the shape of the CAA, and killed, burnt, raped and looted Muslims of Delhi for voting against the BJP in Assembly Elections held in the first quarter of 2020. The BJP have lost elections in Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and other smaller states. They are afraid of losing it in the forth-coming west Bengal and Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. The on-going hateful brouhaha in the print, electronic and social media against the ill-advised Tableeghi Jamaat’s Nizamuddin Markaz convention prior to the lockdown is, in fact, feverishly pitched in order to prepare ground for electoral division of the populace on the basis of Hindu-Muslim divide so as to help the BJP electorally – the Ram Mandir issue is now settled, so a new emotional issue is needed to promote hate that could help the BJP win over such voters who are still moderate. This full of hatred politically motivated anti Tableeghi Jamaat campaign is hurting Indian Muslims and damaging the socio-political pathos of inter-community relations. Only very positive and human friendly acts done consciously would go in assuaging fears and mending relations between Indian communities. 

The humanitarian act of producing and supplying affordable drugs to suffering humanity by Yousuf Abdul Hamied’s CIPLA goes a long way in promoting friendship and universal brotherhood between all people of the world, especially in India. Therefore this needs to be appreciated and brought to the attention of the masses to maintain unity in the country.

Ziauddin Shafi,

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