Reckitt Benckiser has been slapped with a $1.7 million fine by the Federal Court after being found to have breached Australian law.
The consumer watchdog had argued four products – for back pain, period pain, migraines and tension headaches – in the Nurofen Specific Pain Range were chemically identical, despite packaging touting remedy for specific types of pain.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also said the products were similar to other standard Nurofen ibuprofen products, but almost double the price.
Justice James Edelman ruled last year Reckitt Benckiser had breached Australian consumer law and ordered it to remove the products from shop shelves and amend the packaging.
In his penalty judgment on Friday, Justice Edelman noted the company’s said it packaging for the Nurofen Specific Pain Range no longer infringed the law because it carried the advice “also suitable for general pain relief”.
“Nurofen did not intend to mislead consumers,” the company said in a statement.
“However, we recognise that we could have done more to assist our consumers in navigating the Nurofen Specific Pain Range.”
It agreed each of the products in the range was equally effective for the other pains.
But it also said difference between the Specific Pain Range and other standard products rested on a “unique formulation”.
“The Specific-Pain Range contains ibuprofen lysine – a unique formulation in the Nurofen range that is absorbed faster than the regular ibuprofen contained in standard Nurofen,” Reckitt Benckiser said.
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