There is a pill for every ill, seems to be the belief of Keralites as estimates show that 10-13 percent of the national medicine sales is in the state which homes only 2.77 percent of the country’s total population.
Rs 45,000-50,000 crore is the domestic medicine market in India which produces drugs worth Rs 80,000 crore every year.
Kerala consumes drugs worth `5,000-6,500 crore a year making it the largest consumer of drugs in the entire country.
Antibiotics, analgesics (painkillers), nutraceuticals and tranquilisers are much in demand among Keralites, contributing around 75 percent of the total market share.
Dr K G Revikumar, Director, KMSCL Institute for Drug Studies, attributes this to the high rate of education in the state.
“The intake of drugs for non-communicable diseases is the highest among Keralites. Though the medical science prescribes that lesser the medicines the better, the people in Kerala turn a deaf ear towards it. There are only bad effects for this medicine mania.
“For instance, paracetamol pills of 650 mg are currently been used in the state while earlier 500 mg pills were only available,” he pointed out.
Ernakulam Assistant Drugs Controller M R Pradeep said the increased level of drug consumption in the state has made the job of the department more challenging.
“At present there are 15,000 medical shops in the state. Ensuring safety of medicines sold through them is a Herculean task as the department is facing an acute shortage of staff now,” he added.