Big headache for Nurofen

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has told the Federal Court that makers of Nurofen should face a fine

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has told the Federal Court that makers of Nurofen should face a fine of $6 million for their misleading conduct.

This follows the March (2015) investigation which saw the ACCC launch action against the makers, Reckitt Benckiser, alleging that the company was misleading consumers with the sale of targeted pain relief products.

These include the drugs marketed at targeting back pain and migraines, but have identical ingredients to the flagship Nurofen products. These were sold in different packaging and marketed at twice the price of traditional Nurofen however all contained 342mg of ibuprofen lysine.

In a hearing to determine appropriate penalties for this lawyers for Reckitt Benckiser argued that “rational” consumers would not think that these pain targeting products are any more effective than regular ones.

Katrina Banks-Smith SC, the barrister for ACCC, says the company made “substantial profits” from this misleading packaging and therefore they should face an equally large fine.

“There needs to be some serious taking away of profit,” Ms Banks-Smith SC said. She told courts that consumers of these products were financially harmed over the five years they were stocked as they retail for almost double the price of regular Nurofen.

“They purchased a product they thought was special and it wasn’t. They were misled,” she said.

Although Reckitt Benckiser admitted to engaging in misleading conduct they still deny any intentional deception of consumers. Spokes person for Nurofen, Montse Pena, released a statement late last year claiming there was no harmful intent behind the packaging.

“The Nurofen specific-pain range was launched with an intention to help customers navigate their pain relief options, particularly within the grocery environment where there is no healthcare professional to assist decision making.”

“Nurofen did not set out to mislead consumers. Nurofen has cooperated with the ACCC in relation to these proceedings…”

Did you purchase these products? What do you think a fair penalty would be?

  1. Lee Young  

    $60 million would be a better slap on the wrist, that’s pocket money for these companies.

  2. Peter McEwen  

    They decided to change the marketing their product to make more profit using deception of the consumer to do this. The court needs to send a clear message to the company & others to deter them & others from doing the same thing. A six million dollar fine in my opinion is not enough.

  3. Keith Simmons  

    Better to make it 100 million. They probably don’t pay any tax so get as much out of them as possible.

  4. Hazel Newark  

    Do any products really do what they say – it worked for me. Get a life guys

    • Narla  

      Sure they worked, but they were charging up to double the price saying a particular product targets a particular type of pain. THAT was the deception. No-one is disputing that Nurofen works.

  5. G. Theodosiou  

    No they did not try to mislead customers as far as pain relieve was concerned. But they did rip people of, as far as their pockets were concerned. They must of laughed all the way to the en bank.

  6. colin mcneilly  

    this drug with continued use may cure your headache , numb your brain into thinking that you dont have pain but your liver and kidneys will fail , where is your recourse then maybe 600 million or new livers and kidneys for everyone

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