Oximeters selling like hot cakes as Covid 2.0 rages
There was fall in the demand for the device up to March. With the second wave hitting, demand for pulse oximeters skyrockets
Hyderabad With the Covid-19 triggered by novel coronavirus turning more potent and claiming more lives in its second wave, pulse oximeters are selling like hot cakes in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana.
Oximeter has become an essential tool for Covid patients as the electronic device measures oxygen saturation levels of a person in a hassle-free way – just by inserting one's finger in the device, one can know oxygen levels in the body. Falling oxygen level is a potentially-dangerous symptom of the Covid-19 which is infecting lungs.
"Oximeter sales increased last year, but sales started falling down in December and continued for next couple of months. With the second wave hitting, the demand for these devices skyrocketed. Normally, we used to sell around 10 pulse oximeters in a day, but since the last week of March, we are selling 30 to 40 devices," Kishan, Owner, Ankur Pharmacy, told Bizz Buzz.
Anxiety among people is such that they are thronging the shops to buy the oximeter along with the medicines for the Covid-19 even if they are not tested positive. Traders say both offline and online sales have gone up phenomenally. Demand for these devices in April is such that many medical stores ran out stocks and started displaying 'no stock' board. The same is the case with the e-commerce websites.
Keeping the increased demand in view, many electronic manufacturers and Medtech companies came with new designs and features.
"Prices of pulse oximeters are in the range of Rs 1,500- 8,000. Depending on the people's choice, we sell them the branded or non-branded (locally made) devices," Kishan added.
Customers say with the increase in demand, companies hiked prices. Further, e-commerce websites offered huge discounts on these devices before March. Now, there are no discounts now.
"I bought a pulse oximeter for my mother in February for Rs 1,899 from an e-commerce website on suggestion from the doctor, but now the same product is priced at Rs 4,000," said Jagan Mohan Imadabathuni, a customer.
Branded products are in demand though people are also buying local devices as their cost is much less than the branded ones. However, the challenge is the unbranded devices may not show the accurate readings and don't have extra features like the branded devices.
"At Dr.Odin, we have seen a tremendous increase in sales of oximeters. The device sales increased by 200 per cent in April. We sell the product for Rs 1900," said Ranjeet Singh, Sales Manager, Dr Odin.
The experts caution that though people buy the oximeters when they have cough or breathing problems, the portable pulse oximeters may not show proper readings of oxygen levels. This may make the patients anxious and they rush to hospitals for treatment in a hurry.
"We suggest using the pulse oximeter for the Covid patients, with severe cough and breathing problems but not for mild symptoms.
The portable devices in the market that show the wavelengths are recommended, as some show fluctuations in the oxygen levels," said Dr Kiran Kumar, physician, AIG Hospital.