The Federal Court of Australia has ordered drug giant Reckitt Benckiser to pull some of its popular Nurofen painkiller brands off shelves in the country after the court ruled that this British-based multinational made misleading claims.
Australia's consumer watchdog took court action in March 2015, disputing Nurofen packaging that products in its Nurofen Specific Pain range were formulated to treat different types of pain, when the active ingredient was identical. The court ruled the company engaged in misleading conduct with the main ingredient, 342 milligrams of ibuprofen lysine, the same in all the products and none any better at treating one type of pain than others.
‘Reckitt Benckiser was found to be guilty of engaging in misleading conduct with the main ingredient, 342 milligrams of ibuprofen lysine, the same in all the products and none any better at treating one type of pain than others.’
It ordered that Nurofen Back Pain, Nurofen Period Pain, Nurofen Migraine Pain and Nurofen Tension Headache be removed from retail shelves within three months.
Nurofen in Australia could not immediately be reached but in a statement the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said, "Reckitt Benckiser admitted the illegal conduct and consented to the court orders."
Chairman Rod Sims said, "The ACCC took these proceedings because it was concerned that consumers may have purchased these products in the belief that they specifically treated a certain type of pain, based on the representations on the packaging, when this was not the case. 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."
The court also ordered it to pay the ACCC's costs and publish online and newspaper corrections. A hearing will be held at a later undisclosed date to decide what fine the company faces.
In Australia, Reckitt Benckiser markets and supplies a range of consumer health and household brands, including Nurofen, Mortein, Clearasil, Finish, Airwick and Gaviscon.