Dolo 650 became the most prescribed medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. The drug has cornered sales of Rs 567 crore since March 2020, selling more than 350 crore pills and 7.5 crore strips of medicine.
Its sales peaked during the second wave as it sold Rs 49 crore worth of tablets in April 2021, the highest monthly sales ever made as per the data from healthcare research firm IQVIA. People on the internet have gone as far as calling it India's national tablet and favourite snack.
In 2019, the sales of all brands under the paracetamol category were nearly Rs 530 crore. They touched Rs 924 crore by 2021. Dolo is India's second most sold anti-fever and analgesic tablet, with a turnover of Rs 307 crore (in 2021). Crocin is the sixth-largest, with sales of Rs 23.6 crore.
But what has made Dolo 650 a cult favourite?
Founded by G.C. Surana in 1973, Micro Labs Ltd. manufactures Dolo with 650 milligrams (mg) of paracetamol, while most other brands sell their paracetamol brand with 500 mg salt, which is claimed as more effective.
Crocin or Dolo or Calpol - these are different brand names given by pharma companies that sell the same salt, under their copyright. Dolo's popularity compared to other paracetamol tablets is unexplained since all paracetamols are alike. Experts say Dolo's growth, compared to other brands, could be attributed to its more straightforward name.
Another reason is Dolo's offering of the 650 milligrams (MG) category and the perception that it's more effective on fever. MicroLabs's strategy of using the medical term preferred by doctors for fever called Fever of Unknown Origin or FUO in brand promotion also played a key role in increasing its trustworthiness. Moreover, in 2010, Dolo 650 was awarded as the best-managed brand of the year and recognised as India's most admired brand.
Micro Labs, with 9,200 employees, has an annual turnover of Rs 2,700 crore, including exports that contribute Rs 920 crore.
Paracetamol, a generic salt, which is a common painkiller used to treat aches and reduce high body temperature, has been on the market since the 1960s. Paracetamol tablets are the most consumed medicines for cold and fever, which witnessed a massive surge in sales during COVID-19.