The Covid-19 pandemic has made several healthcare and pharma players billionaires and the makers of Dolo 650 — the most prescribed medicine during the pandemic having sold more than 350 crore pills since the Covid outbreak in March 2020 — are raking in the moolah too.
As per the data from healthcare research firm IQVIA, India sold nearly 7.5 crore strips of Dolo — a paracetamol tablet manufactured by Bengaluru-based Micro Labs Ltd — before the Covid outbreak in 2019.
Dolo, which is currently the most prescribed fever medicine for Covid-19 patients, registered a turnover of Rs 307 crore in 2021, according to the data.
In comparison, GSK Pharmaceuticals’ Calpol had a turnover of Rs 310 crore while Crocin logged double-digit sales at Rs 23.6 crore last year.
Somehow, the Dolo 650 brand has become synonymous with fever amid the pandemic.
According to Charu Goel Sachdeva, HOD and Consultant-Internal Medicine, Manipal Dwarka Hospital in New Delhi, Dolo 650 is basically a paracetamol drug.
“Because of its safety profile and its efficacy, Dolo 650 is preferable. From experience, we have seen that people respond well to this and fever starts subsiding fast. It is not only an antipyretic medicine but also has an anti-inflammatory effect as well, and you don’t have to worry about nephrotoxicity or having any kind of major interaction like with many other drugs,” Sachdeva told IANS.
Founded by G.C. Surana in 1973 in Chennai, Micro Labs Ltd manufactures Dolo with 650 milligram (mg) of paracetamol while most other brands sell their paracetamol brand with 500 mg salt — giving a general perception that Dolo 650 is more effective.
Micro Labs with 9,200 employees has an annual turnover of Rs 2,700 crore, including exports that contribute Rs 920 crore.
Data from IQVIA, a human data science and advanced analytics firm in healthcare, also shows that Dolo 650 and Calpol are the key brands driving the paracetamol segment.
Since last week, #Dolo650 has been trending on social media in a meme-fest.
There are nearly 37 brands of paracetamol being sold in various regions in the country.
According to Ravi Shekhar Jha, Additional Director and Head, Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, the safety profile of Dolo is good and it is not very costly either.
“The symptom that is most bothersome for Covid patients is fever. Fever leads to an increase in heart rate and body pain. The safety profile of Dolo is good and it is a cheap medicine too. Most of the patients do not even need more than 1 Dolo tablet,” Jha told IANS.
Aviral Bhatnagar, an investor at Venture Highway which is an early-stage seed fund, said in a tweet on Thursday: “Dolo 650 is a sleeper hit: 3.5B pills sold in pandemic, ~600 Cr of sales with one drug, used for treating virtually everything, brand name equal to paracetamol, manufacturer Micro Labs doing 2,700 Cr of revenue, Founding Surana family worth $2Bn+.”