6 April 2017

Nurofen fine remains at $6m as appeal fails

Drugs Pain Pharmaceuticals

The news doesn’t get any better for pharmaceutical company Reckitt Benckiser with the High Court of Australia ruling against an appeal of a $6 million fine imposed for misleading consumers over the Nurofen Specific Pain products.

The company was initially fined $1.7 million after the Federal Court found the marketing of the products was misleading because they all contained the same active ingredient and did not target different parts of the body.

The Nurofen advertising claimed to specifically target back pain, migraine, tension headache or period pain. But the separate products each contained the same 342mg of ibuprofen lysine.

The fine was increased to $6 million after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which had brought the case to the federal court appealed the size of the penalty, arguing it was “manifestly inadequate”.

Reckitt Benckiser said it was disappointed by the latest court decision.

“Nurofen did not intend to mislead consumers and we apologise to those of our consumers who were misled,” the company said in a statement.

“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.”

The ABC reported that between 2011 and 2015 the company sold 5.9 million packets of the medications, which were sold at a premium to regular Nurofen, earning revenue of $45 million.