The maker of the Dolo 650, Micro Labs, claims that it spent a pittance on the brand’s marketing and promotion, spending less than Rs 10 crore annually. Micro Labs is the subject of a controversy over allegations of unethical business practises. The Bangalore-based company was under scrutiny last week during a hearing in another case brought by the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Association before the Supreme Court.
The corporation is accused of giving doctors freebies worth over Rs 1,000 crore. During the pandemic, the Rs 2 pill became well-known for providing pain and fever relief. Its sales for the fiscal year that ended in March this year totalled Rs 362 crore, an increase of over 30%.
“Dolo 650 is a mega brand due to first-mover advantage, its quality, availability and reach across the country. It is a mass brand and an established market leader with 50% share, even before Covid,” said Dilip Surana, the CMD of Micro Labs.
The offices of the Rs 4,500 crore Micro Labs were raided and the premises searched by the tax department last month on suspicion of tax evasion. In total, the company has spent Rs 1000 crore on marketing for all of its products, not just Dolo 650.
“On the pain relief pill alone, the marketing expenditure has typically been 4-5% of its annual turnover of Rs 200-250 crore,” said Executive VP (Marketing) Jayaraj Govindaraju. He said that the basic promotions (to doctors) during Covid were of low value and comprised handing out free (Dolo) samples, brand reminders, masks & sanitizers, and scientific dissemination through conferences on fever.