Riding high on surging eye infections, ophthalmic medicines have seen a 26% rise in Gujarat in the month of August. In fact, this happens to be the second consecutive month seeing sales of drugs under the ophthalmological therapy go up at this rate.
On an average, July and August 2023 saw drugs worth Rs 37 crore sold across the state in this category. Such growth is being directly linked to a sharp increase in conjunctivitis cases, apart from reckless self-medication, prolonged infections and indiscriminate use of medicines.
Ocular anti-allergic medicines, ocular lubricants, miotics, antiseptics and anti-inflammatory and anti-infective medicines were some of the medicines high on demand.
An Ahmedabad-based ophthalmologist said the primary difference between August 2022 and August 2023 has been the conjunctivitis outbreak this year. As cases increased, use of eye drops to steroid-based medicines saw a major rise compared to August last year. This can explain the rise in medication prescribed to and taken by patients.
Other ophthalmologists also opined that apart from prescribed drugs, many people also opted for over the counter (OTC) drugs to address eye-related issues. “Viral eye infections could also be seen in limited numbers in some areas. But after the nation-wide conjunctivitis outbreak, we have not seen any widespread issue,” said an expert.
“The average sale of ophthalmological products has increased by at least 25% as compared to normal times, in the wake of a rise in infections. Many a time people were affected by allergies, viral infections or complications triggered by conjunctivitis. This further led to the rise in the sale of drugs. People picked up OTC medicines as a precautionary measure, too,” said Alpesh Patel, chairman, Federation of Gujarat State Chemists and Druggists’ Association (FGSCDA).
Other drug categories which saw a sharp spike in August include vaccines (13%), dermatology (9%), stomatology (9%) and gynaecology (7%). Overall, Gujarat’s pharma market reported a 3% growth during the month.