Nurofen maker Reckitt Benckiser fined $1.86m for misleading conduct
The company that sells Nurofen has been fined A$1.7 million (NZ$1.86m) for misleading consumers about its specific pain products.
The Australian Federal Court previously decided that Reckitt Benckiser, which sells market-leading ibuprofen medication including Nurofen Specific Pain Relief products, had engaged in misleading conduct by advertising that its products were specifically formulated to treat back pain, period pain, migraine pain and tension headaches, when they all had the same active ingredient.
"None of the four products is any more or less effective than the others in treating any of the particular symptoms," Justice James Edelman said on Friday.
Justice Edelman ordered the company to pay the Australian Commonwealth A$1,700,000 in the next month. The penalty comes closer to the A$1.1 million Reckitt Benckiser had argued it should pay than the Australian consumer watchdog ACCC's proposed penalty of A$6 million.
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A spokeswoman for Nurofen acknowledged the court's decision and said: "Nurofen did not intend to mislead consumers, however we recognise that we could have done more to assist our consumers in navigating the Nurofen Specific Pain Range.
"That is, to show that each of the products in the range is equally effective for the other pains indicated on the Nurofen Specific Pain Range packaging."
In December 2015 Reckitt Benckiser agreed to change the packaging after an agreement with New Zealand's Commerce Commission.
The commission was investigating concerns that the packaging, which marketed the product in different specific pain ranges, was misleading and deceptive.
January 14 was the deadline for the Auckland-based New Zealand arm to either stop shipping, or use "best endeavours" to stop shipping, distributing or selling the Nurofen pain range in the original pain-specific packaging to pharmacies and supermarkets via wholesalers.
After March 23, no pain-specific Nurofen products supplied to Australia and New Zealand could be in the original pain-specific packaging.
- Brisbane Times