Mumbai : Micro Labs, manufacturer of Dolo 650, which is in the eye of a storm over alleged unethical practices, says it spent a minuscule amount — under Rs 10 crore per year — on the brand’s marketing and promotion.

The Bangalore-based firm, charged with distributing freebies of about Rs 1,000 crore to doctors, came under the scanner last week during a hearing in another case by the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives Association in the Supreme Court. The Rs 2 pill became a household name for pain and fever relief during the pandemic, netting sales of Rs 362 crore for the year ended March this year — a growth of nearly 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,” Micro Labs CMD Dilip Surana told TOI, speaking for the first time on the issue.

Last month, the tax department searched the premises and conducted country-wide raids on offices of the Rs 4,500-crore Micro Labs on charges of alleged tax evasion. The company has spent Rs 1,000 crore as cumulative marketing expenditure across all brands, and not just on Dolo 650.

Executive VP (marketing) Jayaraj Govindaraju said, “On the pain relief pill alone the marketing expenditure has been typically 4-5% of its annual turnover of Rs 200-250 crore.” The basic promotions (to doctors) during Covid were of low value and included giving out free (Dolo) samples, brand reminders, masks & sanitizers, and scientific dissemination through conferences on fever, he added.