There is a pill for every ill, seems to be the belief of Keralites as estimates show that 10-13 per cent of the national medicine sales is in the state which homes only 2.77 per cent 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 Rs 5,000-6,500 crore a year making it the largest consumer of drugs in the country. Antibiotics, analgesics (painkillers), nutraceuticals and tranquilisers are in demand among Keralites, contributing around 75 per cent 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. This can only bring in bad effects. For instance, paracetamol pills of 650 mg are currently been used in the state while earlier only 500 mg pills were available,” he said. Ernakulam Assistant Drugs Controller M R Pradeep said, “Presently there are 15,000 medical shops in the state. Ensuring safety of medicines sold is a Herculean task due to acute shortage of staff.”