Dr. Swati Piramal

Pharma Firebrand

Dr. Swati Piramal
Vice Chairperson, Piramal Life Sciences Limited

A towering figure in the pharmaceuticals domain, Dr. Swati Piramal has touched the lives of thousands of people, healing them. For over two decades the pharma firebrand has been spreading the light of awareness to help people keep chronic ailments at bay, encouraging prevention of tough diseases and ushering in competitively priced, indigenously developed drugs.

She is a trailblazer, daring to innovate and go where no one has before, emerging triumphant in every measure. An MBBS from University of Bombay and an alumnus of the Master in Public Health pursuit from Harvard, USA, Dr. Piramal is the only woman on the Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Board (2001 to 2011) in India and has spearheaded innumerable health awareness drives. She has worked tirelessly towards the prevention of chronic diseases including diabetes and arthritis, and authored several books on clinical nutrition. She is powered by a staunch belief that we in India can produce affordable drugs for the entire global village thanks to the proficiency of our scientists. Recently the company sold part of its Indian generic business for $3.8 billion. In keeping with Dr. Piramal’s belief that research and development is paramount, the money will be ploughed back into healthcare research, contract manufacturing and over-the-counter medicines.

Dr. Swati Piramal, along with her husband Ajay Piramal, acquired a nascent company – Nicholas Laboratories (with a turnover of only USD 2 million in 1988) and brought it to the level of an Indian multinational, with flourishing operations in the US, Europe and India. Shaped by their sharp expertise, fine business acumen and an exhaustive understanding of the dynamics of the Indian healthcare market, the Piramal brand today is a force to reckon with both on domestic and global turf.

As part of Dr. Piramal’s zeal to realize the best and reach out to the needy, the Piramal Group has started e-swastya, a digital health initiative in rural Rajasthan, and Sarvajal, a project to provide villages with clean drinking water, in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The most satisfying aspect of all these initiatives is, she admits, when someone says “You changed my life!”

Shilpi Madan in conversation with Dr. Swati Piramal
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