Pharmacy groups say residents’ proactive steps to increase immunity during Covid-19 have resulted in an increase in sales
Pharmacy groups in the United Arab Emirates have seen sales of multivitamins and zinc supplements grow up to 200 percent since March 2020 as residents take proactive steps to boost their immunity.
Bala NS, chief executive officer, Aster Retail, Aster DM Healthcare, said the sales surge started with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have more than 200 pharmacies in the United Arab Emirates. And since April 2020, sales of nutritional supplements such as vitamin C and zinc have increased by 220 percent in the 2020 calendar year compared to 2019. The bestsellers are multivitamins, immune products, omega 3 such as fish oil supplements and children’s gums. Vitamin D needs have also increased because of its perceived benefits in boosting immunity. “
Bala found that most dietary supplements are available over the counter.
“While most sales are over-the-counter and do not require a doctor’s prescription, we are seeing a growing trend for doctors to prescribe vitamins and dietary supplements for their benefits as supportive treatments for many chronic and acute conditions.”
Roshan Abdul Hameed, Retail Director of Burjeel Pharmacy, VPS Healthcare’s Retail Pharmacy Network, said, “At the beginning of the pandemic itself, more people started buying vitamin C and zinc to boost immunity. When the Covid-19 numbers peaked, the demand in our more than 35 pharmacies increased enormously. After all, sales have doubled in these months. The increase in sales of these products in our pharmacies is currently 40 to 50 percent compared to pre-pandemic times. “
Arun Kumar A., Manager, Pharmacies, Ahalia Medical Group, indicated that demand had doubled compared to 2019.
“The local health authorities have recommended taking vitamin and zinc supplements. The surge in demand started last year and is increasing from month to month. Initially there were only 1 or 2 brands, but now there are many available. Compared to 2019, we increased sales of vitamin preparations by 40 percent in 2020, and now in the first five months of this year in our 30 pharmacies by 50 percent.
All pharmacy groups have created separate counters and display areas to showcase these nutritional supplements, which contain many combinations such as vitamin C with zinc and both with vitamin D, vitamin E with selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin B complex. Tablets are available in different formulations: chewable tablets, effervescent tablets, swallowable tablets and sachets.
To cope with this excess demand, pharmaceutical companies have also ramped up production in the country. Dr. Madgy Fahmy, CEO, LIFE Pharma, Dubai, said, “In line with the UAE leadership’s strategy of promoting local manufacturing, we are able to effectively address the growing demand for multivitamins. In the early days of the pandemic, sourcing raw materials was a challenge, but with the help of the authorities, we were able to source them. Since last July we have been exporting these products to other GCC countries as part of the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Prevention to support sister countries. “