Seeing India’s high dependence on foreign countries for drugs and medicine, Abdul Khwaja Hamied realized that India needs to be self-reliant for manufacturing drugs and medicine. In the endeavour, to make India self-reliant and self-sufficient in pharma and healthcare he founded Cipla in 1935. Since its inception, its only goal became to ensure that no patient is barred access to high-quality medicines and soon became the epitome of affordable healthcare in India.
Becoming the HIV Champion
In lesser developed countries of African continents, the affordability of retroviral was low since high costs were born to procure the chemical compound. Cipla proved to be the champion of HIV patients by introducing a three-drug AIDS cocktail at a price that was just a fraction of the global drugs firm. It broke the notion that only an expensive drug is equipped to fight AIDS, thus saving millions of lives. Cipla priced the drugs at $350-600 per patient per year instead of $ 10000-150000 for the patent-protected version in developed countries.
Innovations in Healthcare
The old saying ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ stands true with the drug manufacturing company Cipla. A study from INDIA AB Study says that over 72 million of the Indian population is diabetic. Cipla decided to step beyond pill manufacturing to address the new underlying challenges of drug delivery systems and foray into digital disease management. Cipla has recently partnered with a Mumbai-based startup Wellthy Therapeutics offering the best of pharmacotherapy and digital therapeutics in diabetology and cardiology. Through this partnership, it plans to provide holistic care to patients suffering from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases by its multi-lingual clinically-validated digital disease management platform straight from doctors’ clinics or co-packaging on select Cipla brands. This digital disease management will be an amalgamation of behavioural science, real-world clinical evidence and artificial intelligence to provide real-time monitoring, health advice to patients and offers virtual clinical assistance to the doctors. It will aid the patients to make informed decisions, and receive precise diagnoses.
For innovations in drug delivery, Cipla is looking to invest in technologies that is as unique as delivery of drugs through micro-needles into skin, PPP consolidation etc.
Cipla has also acquired an 11.71 percent stake in Wellthy Therapeutics with a cash consideration of 10.5 Crore. In April 2019, it has acquired a 30 percent stake in a South Africa-based Brandmed for Rs 32 crore, thus confirming its entry in digital healthcare overseas.
It has also taken up initiatives to support the budding startups for bringing disruptive ideas in the healthcare space by launching an innovation challenge ‘Innoventia’- an incubation initiative. The winning startups in the innovation challenge will receive an investment of up to $15 million from Cipla and equity participation from 5 percent to a controlling stake.
Detecting the Covid-19 virus
The chaos created by the pandemic left the medical workforce at the door of uncertainties. For better diagnosis of the virus, Cipla in collaboration with Premier Medical Corporation has launched its rapid antigen detection test. The test known as CIPtest is a nasopharyngeal swab test that can effectively detect the presence or absence of coronavirus antigen in the patient’s body, generating results within 15-20 minutes, thus eliminating the need for any additional instrument. The test can give specificity and sensitivity of 98.09 percent and up to 75 percent respectively. CIPtest can be performed by labs only authorized by ICMR.
To identify the immune status of an individual, Cipla has collaborated with KARWA Ltd. and taken the responsibility of marketing and distribution of ELIfast -a SARS CoV-2-IgG Antibody detection kit. The kit is found to have a specificity and sensitivity of 99.33% and 92% and is approved by ICMR and NIV (National Institute of Virology).
The combination of technology and doctor’s prescription will push the healthcare sector in India towards the newer possibilities of holistic healthcare.