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Dolo 650 is under govt price control: Micro Labs executive

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Drugmaker Micro Labs has sought to clear the air on Dolo, its paracetamol brand, which became immensely popular during the peak of Covid-19. Dolo presently finds itself in the eye of a storm involving allegations of freebies and unethical drug promotions to the medical community.

Dolo 650 mg is a legitimate dosage approved by the Drug Controller of India and is under the government’s price control, said Jayaraj Govindaraju, Micro Labs Executive Vice-President, Marketing and Corporate Communications. He was countering the perception that they were pushing the 650 mg (over 500 mg) with doctors to circumvent price control. Paracetamol 650 mg is an accepted dosage even overseas, he said, claiming that it was part of local treatment guidelines for Covid-19, as well.

Further, he added Dolo-650 was a prescription brand, unlike its fellow competitor Crocin, and it saw a spike in sales during Covid-19, just like other medicines sold during this period, such as Vitamic C, Zinc tablets. In fact, every outbreak sees a surge in its sales, be it chikungunya, dengue or now Covid-19, he explained.

Early last month, a government communication had said that search-and-seizure operations at a Bengaluru-based company had revealed “substantial ïncriminating evidence” of unethical practices and freebies to medical professionals. The freebies were pegged at ₹1,000 crore.

Govindaraju said ₹1,000 crore was their marketing expense across all their products over six years. Dolo is a ₹350-crore brand, he said, denying reports of promoting it unethically. Brand reminders such as note-pads, pens and table top products within the Centre’s Uniform Code of Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices (UCPMP) guidelines were given, he said, adding that the raid was routine and that the company had explained its expenditure to the authorities concerned.

The ₹4,500-crore company’s Dolo story was catapulted into public memory again, following a Supreme Court case, filed by the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Associations of India (FMRAI) to bring in an ethical code to avoid corrupt practices between the pharmaceutical industry and the medical fraternity.

Commenting on the latest development, Govindaraju said it caused much “heartburn” to see the narrative involving Dolo, especially after going all out to make it available during Covid.

Published on

August 22, 2022



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