The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is seeking penalties and costs from Reckitt Benckiser Australia, alleging it had made ‘false claims’ about its ‘Specific Pain’ range of Neurofen tablets. But consumer groups in Australia are far from satisfied.

The competition watchdog has found that the UK-based pharmaceutical company sells Nurofen Back Pain, Nurofen Period Pain, Nurofen Migraine Pain and Nurofen Tension Headache as separate products, sometimes for different rates, though they all contain the same 342 mg of ibuprofen lysine, the active ingredient.ACCC is also asking Reckitt Benckiser to publish corrective notices about the product.

However, health experts and consumer groups in Australia say ACCC is actually powerless to prevent the pharmaceutical major from making misleading claims and want stronger advertising regulation to protect consumers.
Reckitt Benckiser denied that it had breached consumer law in relation to Nurofen’s pain-specific packaging. On why they marketed the same product differently, the company said: “Nurofen pain-specific products provide easier navigation of pain-relief options for a particular type of pain”.

The matter is to come up before the Sydney Federal Court on 31 March.


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