Nurofen fined in Australia for 'misleading' shoppers

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Nurofen’s bold claim to treat a variety of pain-specific ailments has given its owner an A$1.7 million (£889,000) headache after an Australian court fined it for misleading customers.

Australia’s consumer watchdog ruled in December that Nurofen’s pills for migraines, period pain, tension headaches and back pain contained the same ingredients.

It had been seeking an A$6 million fine. The Federal Court today ordered Nurofen owner Reckitt Benckiser to pay a smaller penalty for engaging in misleading conduct.

“The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission was particularly concerned that consumers had been misled into purchasing Nurofen specific-pain products, and paying more for those products,” chairman Rod Sims said. 

Reckitt has agreed to change the packaging to make it clear the products are equally effective at treating forms of pain.

The ruling does not affect the UK although the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) was investigating whether a Nurofen Express TV ad misled customers. It has since closed the investigation after Nurofen agreed to stop claiming the pills had a special mechanism to target headache pain, an ASA spokeswoman said.  

The watchdog found prices for the specific pain products were almost double that of Nurofen’s standard ibuprofen products. All specific pain products contained the same pain medicine.

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April 30, 2016 |
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