Makers of Dolo-650 had distributed freebies worth whooping Rs 1,000 crore to doctors as consideration for prescribing the tablet, the Federation of Medical & Sales Representatives Association of India told the Supreme Court on Thursday (August 18).
Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, representing Federation of Medical & Sales Representatives Association of India, contended before a bench headed by justice D.Y. Chandrachud that Dolo had invested Rs 1,000 crore in freebies to have its anti-fever drug prescribed to patients.
Justice Chandrachud said that it is a serious issue and even he was prescribed the same during Covid and said, "I was also asked to have the same when I had Covid." He added, "This is a serious issue and matter."
The Central government represented by Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj was directed to file a reply within 10 days.
In July, the Income Tax department had conducted searches at Bengaluru based pharma company - Micro Labs Ltd that manufactures Dolo-650. The searches were carried out on chares of tax invasion.
MicroLabs's strategy of using the medical terminology preferred by doctors for fever called Fever of Unknown Origin or FUO in brand promotion that helped it in increasing its trustworthiness.
According to a report in Forbes, more than 350 crore Dolo-650 tablets were sold since beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 that helped the Micro Labs Ltd garner revenues worth Rs 400 crore in a year.
As per research firm IQVIA, the pharma company sold about 7.5 crore strips of Dolo-650 annually before the pandemic began. It increased to 9.4 crore strips, before touching 14.5 crore strips, almost double the 2019 figure, by the end of 2021.