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Dr Yusuf K Hamied (PhD Chemistry 1960) presented the film "Fire in the Blood" in the Chemistry Department's Wolfson Theatre in June 2014.  The occasion was part of the events celebrating the University of Cambridge's award of an honorary Doctor of Science to Dr Hamied for his work in the life science industry, where he has worked on creating affordable drugs to fight AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.

Dr Hamied introduced the film, which tells the story of this fight to introduce low-cost AIDS drugs to developing countries in the years after 1996. This is what Philip French said about the film in the Observer on 24 February 2013:

"[The film] records how a remarkable group of dedicated men and women on four continents, including Desmond Tutu and Dr Yusuf Hamied (the enlightened head of the Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla), worked and campaigned together to compel the world's major pharmaceutical giants to make antiretrovirals (ARVs) available to people with HIV and Aids the world over as generic drugs. This co-operative triumph has saved millions of lives and much suffering." The Observer, 24 February 2013.

After the film, Dr Hamied answered the questions in a truly thought-provoking manner, and many in the audience were visibly moved by the issues raised by the film and Dr Hamied regarding the affordability of patented drugs to people in developing countries. At the end of the session, Emeritus Professor Ian Fleming (Chemistry PhD 1961), who was a contemporary of Dr Hamied's, presented him with a framed photograph of the Department of Chemistry Building as it appeared in 1960, when they were some of the first students to work in the labs. At a reception after the screening, many students took the opportunity to meet Dr Hamied and hear more of his remarkable story.

Dr Hamied studied for his PhD in the Cambridge Chemistry Department under the supervision of Dr Alexander Todd (who won the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 1957) and was awarded his doctoral degree in 1960. Lord Todd had an enormous impact on the young Hamied and he is immensely proud of the association: When he funded a laboratory and seminar room for the Chemistry Department at Cambridge five years ago, he named it the Todd Hamied Laboratory and Todd Hamied Seminar room.

For further information on Dr Hamied's honorary degree, please click on this link to the University of Cambridge website.

For other reviews of Fire in the Blood, click here

Image shows Emeritus Professor Ian Fleming, a contemporary of Dr Yusuf Hamied, presenting him with a photograph of the Chemistry Department as it appeared in 1960, the year Dr Hamied received his Phd.