Australian court finds Reckitt Benckiser misled consumers on Nurofen products

SYDNEY: An Australian court has ordered British consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser to pull several of its Nurofen pain relief ranges from the market after finding its claims the products attacked particular types of pain was misleading.

The Federal Court ruled on Monday that the Nurofen Back Pain, Period Pain, Migraine Pain and Tension Headache products were in fact identical and that Reckitt Benckiser had "engaged in misleading conduct" by labeling them for different ailments.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which brought the court action, said on Monday that Reckitt Benckiser had three months to remove the Nurofen Specific Pain products from retail shelves.

The manufacturer of Nurofen painkillers, Durex condoms and Dettol disinfectant will also receive a fine, which is yet to be determined by the court.

"Truth in advertising and consumer issues in the health and medical sectors are priority areas for the ACCC, to ensure that consumers are given accurate information when making their purchasing decisions," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

"Any representations which are difficult for a consumer to test will face greater scrutiny from the ACCC."

Reckitt Benckiser said its Nurofen specific pain range "did not set out to mislead consumers", adding that it would fully comply with the court order.

"The Nurofen specific pain range was launched with an intention to help consumers navigate their pain relief options, particularly within the grocery environment where there is no

healthcare professional to assist decision making," said Nurofen spokeswoman Montse Pena.

The ACCC said that each Nurofen Specific Pain product contained the same active ingredient, ibuprofen lysine 342mg, and was no more effective at treating the type of pain described on its packaging than any of the other Nurofen Specific Pain products.

The ACCC said it had agreed an interim packaging arrangement with Reckitt Benckiser for use following the removal of the products. That would clearly disclose to consumers that the products are equally effective for other forms of pain.

The court also ordered that Reckitt Benckiser publish website and newspaper corrective notices, implement a consumer protection compliance program, and pay the ACCC’s costs.- Reuters
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