Mumbai-born scientist and Chairman of Indian pharmaceutical giant, Cipla, Yusuf Hamied, has been awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society, which is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence since the seventeenth century.
The announcement was made by Nobel laureate Venki Ramakrishnan, who is president of the society. He announced Hamied’s fellowship among other distinguished scientists from India and elsewhere for their exceptional contribution to science.
Hamied is known for efforts to produce low-cost drugs to treat diabetes, cancer and other diseases. Hamied is best known outside India for defying large Western pharmaceutical companies in order to provide generic AIDS drugs and treatments for other ailments primarily affecting people in poor countries. Hamied has led efforts to eradicate AIDS in the developing world and to give patients life-saving medicines regardless of their ability to pay, and has been characterized as a modern-day Robin Hood. Hamied stated, “I don’t want to make money off these diseases which cause the whole fabric of society to crumble”.
Other Indian scientists elected fellows in the 2019 intake are:
Gurdyal Besra, Bardrick Professor of Microbial Physiology and Chemistry, Institute of Microbiology and Infection, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham;
Manjul Bhargava, R. Brandon Fradd Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, Princeton University;
Gagandeep Kang, Executive Director, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, India;
Anant Parekh, Professor of Physiology, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford;
Akshay Venkatesh, Professor, School of Mathematics, Institute for Advanced Study, US.
Ramakrishnan said: “Over the course of the Royal Society’s vast history, it is our Fellowship that has remained a constant thread and the substance from which our purpose has been realised: to use science for the benefit of humanity.”
“This year’s newly elected Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society embody this, being drawn from diverse fields of enquiry – epidemiology, geometry, climatology – at once disparate, but also aligned in their pursuit and contributions of knowledge about the world in which we live, and it is with great honour that I welcome them as Fellows of the Royal Society.”
Yusuf Hamied is also the recipient of the highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan