Cipla Global Ltd.: Generics versus Drug Discovery
Cipla Global Ltd. (CGL) is a real-life, undisguised decision case. CGL is one of India’s top pharmaceutical companies. Thanks to India’s process patent regime (1970–2005), Dr. Yusuf Hamied, the company’s chairman, managed to catapult the company to its position as a leading generics manufacturer. However, in 2005, India changed its Patents Act to make it TRIPS compliant. Faced with Western pharmaceutical companies’ ‘evergreening’, CGL became a prominent crusader against multinationals. It fought and won patent cases in Indian courts. On the other hand, the government of India took advantage of the TRIPS provisions to authorize Indian companies to manufacture copies of patented drugs without the patent holder’s permission. This infuriated Western pharmaceutical companies because they saw this provision as an infringement on their rights, which would lead to decreased revenues. As a consequence, they started lobbying their respective governments to put pressure on the Indian government. The case ends with a dilemma about the best course of action for CGL going forward, given the various options offered by the industry, on the one hand, and the ambitions of its chairman, on the other.