Vitamins, health supplements start flying off shelves as fear of Omicron variant lurks – ET HealthWorld

Kolkata: With the Union health ministry asking people not to bolster their immunity guards against Omicron, sales of health supplements and vitamins have increased by nearly 25% in city pharmacies.

According to pharmacy owners, there is an increase in queries about any protocol treatment regarding Omicron infection. While the Omicron variant can potentially spread faster than the Delta variant of Covid-19, there is less clarity among patients about the treatment protocol for the variant so far. “Infections are here to stay and people will have to take care of their immunity. Sales of health supplements are already high since the outbreak of the pandemic,” said Rajendra Khandelwal of Dhanwantary Medicare.

According to Somnath Ghosh of Metro Pharma, sales of multivitamins and multi-mineral have gone up by 15%-20% in past seven-ten days. “The sales of Vitamin C, D and E have gone up significantly—almost 25% in past one week. At our stores, from Garia to Madhyamgram, we are seeing an increased demand for multi-vitamins,” he said. “Instead of asking for multi-vitamins, people are asking for specific vitamin and mineral supplements now. It could be that they are more informed now,” Ghosh added.

Pharmacists said that at least four big pharma companies have come out with health supplements in past one year. “This trend of informed decisions by patients started in 2009 when H1N1 (swine flu) cases were being reported in the country. But people took it more seriously when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out,” Khandelwal said.

Manik Lal Das, secretary of the south Kolkata branch of Bengal Chemist and Druggists Association, said there was an increased demand of vitamins and minerals. “There is a spike in demand each year at the onset of winter. It cannot be possible to link it entirely with the apprehensions about the Omicron variant. But we are seeing an increase at pharmacy stores,” he said. Debashsis Pal of Satyadeep Medical at Dum Dum said that most of the demand for health supplement is from the 50 years and above age group. “There is always a demand for supplements each winter. The increase in demand is, however, yet to touch the level we witnessed at the beginning of the second wave,” Pal said.

Pinaki Dey, consultant physician at the ILS, Dum Dum, however, cautioned against unnecessary consumption of multi-vitamin and multi-minerals. “There is no standard process to boost immunity. Why do you need to take vitamins and minerals without doctor’s advice? So far, we are prepared to treat any possible case of Omicron by following the Covid-19 protocol,” he said.

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