Dr Guna Muppuri is a physician who became an entrepreneur when he saw the need for affordable, effective pharmaceuticals in Jamaica, and set out to provide them through his company, Indies Pharma, which he set up in 2003. Today, he is the CEO of the multinational Bioprist Group of companies which owns a majority stake in Indies Pharma and has since branched into specific purpose-built real estate and industrial re-development which takes abandoned infrastructure and creates special economic opportunity zones.
Dr. Guna Muppuri
A native of India, Dr Muppuri migrated to Jamaica in 1992 at the age of 21 as an intern at the University Hospital of the West Indies. As a young medical practitioner, he observed the difficulties of an average Jamaican citizen’s ability to afford prescription medications. The key driving factor for the transition was the cost of the prophylactic medication for stroke disorder which has been the leading cause of deaths in Jamaica since 1999. His determination to reduce the cost of prescription medication turned him as an entrepreneur.
The outcome of his initiative in 2007 reduced the monthly cost of the medication for the stroke disorder by almost 90% from J$8,250 to J$1,500. The medication was then made available under the National Health Fund benefits for J$350 for a month’s supply, compared to J$1,750 a month for the branded formulation. Under his able stewardship Indies Pharma has become a force to be reckoned with in the field of “branded generic pharmaceuticals”. With more than 450 drug dossier registrations in Jamaica, Muppuri’s quest to make medicines available and affordable has played a substantial role in providing several prescription drugs in 23 different therapeutic segments and many other over-the-counter generic pharmaceuticals in Jamaica.
Bioprist has branched into several other industries, the major one being “knowledge parks” where offshore services are provided by Jamaican nationals.
One of his major accomplishments was the re-purposing of the abandoned two Jockey (garment) factories in western Jamaica. Bioprist is also developing capital projects of over (US) $315 million in a 65-acre campus Grand Ridge Med City in Ironshore, Montego Bay to provide space for local and foreign academic medicine and healthcare institutions to set up “offshore” campuses.
The seamless growth objectives under the Grand Ridge Med City development incorporated the development of a 300 bed speciality private hospital enabling the Jamaican soil to open its door for medical and healthcare tourism.
Muppuri is also known for his philanthropic work. Most famously, his company undertook an out-of-court advocacy to make a generic hypertension drug Amlodipine available to Jamaicans by having its patent revoked in the best interest of the people of Jamaica. (Pfizer had the patent and manufactured the drug Amlodipine.) In 2020 he pledged J$ 1 million to help in the Covid fight in Jamaica. Indies Pharma also donates pharmaceuticals to the inner cities of Jamaica, through the Hope Clinic in Montego Bay, and since 2018 his company has provided 18 scholarships annually for students in the medical and pharmacy school in Jamaica. He has also initiated knowledge camps for children in Jamaica, which exposes them to science.
As a joint effort between Dr Muppuri and the Indian High Commission in Jamaica, Dr. Muppuri is advocating for the “whole viron inactivated vaccine” against the COVID-19 to be offered to Jamaican citizens. Currently, he is at the 9th mile of 10 miles in his advocacy to bring COVID-19 vaccine from India so that Jamaica shall achieve the herd immunity within the next six months.
Dr Muppuri has been honoured in Jamaica and in India. In India he was conferred with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award in India in 2019, the highest civilian honour conferred to the Indian Diaspora. It was given on the Indian Diaspora Day and in 2019, he was one of those 30 members globally who received the award from the Honourable President of India Mr. Ramnath Kovind. In his adopted country, he has been honoured by the American Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica with the Corporate Social Responsibility award in 2018, and with the Good Physician Award by the Medical Association of Jamaica in 2008.