We at the Association for Accessible Medicines are proud of our rich heritage. The pioneers who forged our industry deserve to be heralded. Some are still with us; some are gone. Please keep reading about them and their contributions to society.
It was three years ago today, June 26, that Dr. Desh Bandhu Gupta passed away. Lovingly known by family, friends and colleagues as DBG, Desh believed in “simple living and high thinking.” It was this philosophy that inspired him to devote his life to creating a brighter tomorrow for people everywhere.
Desh was born in 1938 in Rajasthan, India, the eldest of five siblings. He earned a master's degree in chemistry from Bombay University and began a career as an associate professor at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science.
Concerned with being “unable to implement ideas into practice," as he later recalled, Desh left the classroom to pursue a business enterprise he started with a $50 loan from his wife Manju. In 1968, he founded Lupin, a global pharmaceutical developer and manufacturer, and one of the world’s largest suppliers of generic medicines.
But Desh’s principle of simple living and high thinking encompassed much more than building a world-class drug company. Over his lifetime he founded the Lupin Human Welfare and Research Foundation, dedicated to sustainable rural development in 3,500 villages spread across India; worked tirelessly to empower those living below the poverty line to ensure their inclusion in the nation's economic progress; and dedicated himself to fighting the life-threatening diseases that plagued his homeland.
His daughter Vinita Gupta, now Chief Executive Officer at Lupin, told me, “What I remember most about my father’s vision is the grandeur of its scope. His mission was to serve humanity and make a material difference. He established an equally grand vision for Lupin, to emerge a global institution serving patients through affordable medicines as well as innovative medicines that meet unmet needs. It is our honor to continue his legacy.”
Desh once said, “Destiny is made of threads that are dreams and choices and it is our heritage which weaves together the wondrous path to it." Whether you remember him as a skillful entrepreneur, a selfless philanthropist or a benevolent humanitarian, his legacy is one of high values and deep compassion. He embraced his ability to shape a better future for society not as a responsibility but as an obligation. Desh Bandhu Gupta was 79 when died in 2017. For his vision, leadership and commitment, we say “Thank you, DBG.”
By Bob Billings. Active in the pharmaceutical industry for more than 25 years, Bob held various positions at the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (now the Association for Accessible Medicines) from 2007 through June 2015, including Interim President and Executive Director.