Dr. Kallam Anji Reddy, Founder and Chairman of Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, the largest Indian pharmaceutical company, died of liver cancer at 3.45 pm on Friday at the Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad. He was 72.
He is survived by wife Samrajyam, daughter Anuradha and son K. Satish Reddy, who is the managing director and COO of the company. His son-in-law G.V. Prasad is Vice Chairman and CEO.
Within the Indian pharmaceutical industry, Dr Anji Reddy is regarded as a drug discovery pioneer. One man who knew him well was chairman of another pharma giant Cipla, Y.K. Hamied. "We go back 50 years," he says. "I met him for the first time in the mid-1960s when he was still a chemist at the state-owned Indian Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. What was Dr Anji Reddy's main achievement? Hamied feels he enabled Indian drugs acquire a presence outside India. "Even now, the Dr Reddy's brand is very strong in Russia, Germany, the US and the UK," he adds.
He believes Dr Anji Reddy deserves full credit for his company's success. "Dr Reddy was a team leader. He gets all the credit, just as I do for all that happens at Cipla. He gets full marks for taking Dr Reddy's to the level at which it is today," says Hamied.
They last met two years ago at Cambridge, UK, where Hamied was invited by Dr Reddy's to inaugurate their research laboratory. "I told him that he had done what I always dreamt of doing," he says.
Other titans of the pharma and hospital sectors also acknowledged his achievement. Kamal K. Sharma, Managing Director of pharma firm Lupin, recalls Dr Anji Reddy as one "who played a pioneering role in the pharma industry with his contribution in the area of research." Calling him "lovable" and "a very persuasive person", Dr Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals, adds, "I have known him as a person who would never give up in difficult times." Dr Prathap Reddy knew Dr Anji Reddy since the early 1980s, before he set up Dr Reddy's Laboratories in 1984.
"He did not really intervene in the government-related matters the way I have done - in, say, issues like patent laws, compulsory licensing etc. He kept aloof," says Cipla's Hamied.
In the past few years he had stepped back from the day to day operations of the company, leaving them to his son and son-in-law. He spent much of his time on philanthropy instead.
In a media release issued by the company, Anji Reddy's son Satish Reddy says: "Dr. Reddy touched millions of lives through his contribution to the pharmaceutical industry and his philanthropic efforts. In improving access to affordable, high quality medicines and in innovation, his contributions have been extraordinary. His philanthropic initiatives made a difference in the lives of so many Indians in the areas of livelihood, education, clean drinking water and healthcare."