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‘Desi Dolo’ overcame global pharma giants during the pandemic: Report

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dolo 650 was the most frequently prescribed medication. Over 350 crore pills and 7.5 crore strips of medicine have been sold since March 2020, resulting in sales of Rs 567 crore. The company sold Rs 49 crore worth of tablets in April 2021, the highest monthly sales ever according to data from healthcare research firm IQVIA.

The internet has even referred to it as India’s national tablet and favourite snack.  Nearly 530 crores were sold under the paracetamol category in 2019. They touched Rs 924 crore by 2021. With a turnover of Rs 307 crore (in 2021), Dolo is India’s second most popular anti-fever and analgesic tablet. Crocin has sales of Rs 23.6 crore, making it the sixth-largest.

Why is Dolo 650 a cult favourite?

Founded by G.C. Surana in 1973, Micro Labs Ltd. produces Dolo tablets with 650 milligrams (mg) of paracetamol, while most other brands sell their paracetamol brands with 500 mg salt, which is claimed to be more effective. The same salt is sold under different brand names by pharma companies under their copyright – Crocin, Dolo, and Calpol. Dolo’s popularity is unexplained since all paracetamols are the same. The brand’s growth can be attributed to its simpler name compared to other brands.

Another reason is the fact that Dolo offers its 650 milligrams (MG) category and the perception that it is more effective for fever. As part of its brand promotion, MicroLabs used the medical term used by doctors to describe fever, Fever of Unknown Origin or FUO. The Dolo 650 brand was also recognized as India’s most admired brand in 2010 for best brand management.

Micro Labs, which has 9,200 employees, has an annual turnover of Rs 2,700 crore, including exports which contribute Rs 920 crore. The generic salt Paracetamol, which has been on the market since the 1960s, is used to treat aches and to reduce high body temperatures. During COVID-19, paracetamol tablets were the most popular cold and fever medicines.

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