Top of the pills

UAE residents are world's top buyers of painkillers...

UAE residents are the world's top purchasers of painkillers, the latest international survey has found.

The study by global market research company Synovate, compiled after speaking to almost 12,000 people from 15 countries, found that 72 percent of UAE residents had bought pain medication in the last six months.

This is compared to 62 percent in the UK, 61 percent in Australia, the company said in a statement.

Countries with the least popularity for painkillers were found to be Taiwan with just 10 percent of people buying them in the last six months and Hong Kong (15 percent) and Chile (17 percent).

"Most people in the UAE tend to carry around over the counter painkillers and take them for even slight headaches, any signs of cold or flu, or other minor ailments. Headaches are common - most likely a result of a very hot climate outside combined with very cold air conditioning inside," said Per-Henrik Karlsson, Dubai-based business development director for Synovate.

The UAE also came out top for residents perceiving non branded medicines as being just as effective as branded products, with 52 percent in agreement. However, despite this view 86 percent of people prefer to use recognised brands.

Karlsson said: "Brand consciousness is very high in Dubai - from the clothes you wear to the car you drive. So even when people believe a store label is just as effective, they still prefer to use recognised pharmaceutical brands."

The survey was conducted in Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Korea, Netherlands Serbia, Spain, Taiwan, the UAE, the UK, and the USA.

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