ACCC alleges “misleading” Nurofen claims [UPDATED]

A range of Nurofen products are under the spotlight of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, with allegations of misleading marketing and false claims.

The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Reckitt Benckiser (Australia) Pty Ltd, alleging that their Nurofen products were being sold with claims different pain relief products were formulated to treat specific pains – even though the products in their Specific Pain Product range are actually identical.

According to the ACCC, the packaging of each Nurofen Specific Pain Product, consisting of Nurofen Back Pain, Nurofen Period Pain, Nurofen Migraine Pain, and Nurofen Tension Headache, made claims relating to the treatment of specific pain types, but the caplets in all four products all contained the same active ingredient, ibuprofen lysine 342mg. The Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods has classified the line of products as being suitable for a wide variety of pain types.

“In this case, we allege that consumers have been misled into purchasing Nurofen Specific Pain Products under the belief that each product is specifically designed for and effective in treating a particular type of pain, when this is not the case,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The retail price of the Nurofen Specific Pain Products is significantly above that of other comparable analgesic products that also act as general pain relievers. Recent price sampling conducted by the ACCC revealed that these products are being sold at retail prices around double that of Nurofen’s standard ibuprofen products and standard products of its competitors.”

The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, and the publication of corrective notices, penalties and costs. The Federal Court of Sydney will hear the management conference on March 31.

Update:

“Nurofen disputes any allegation of contravention of consumer law in relation to its pain-specific packaging,” Nurofen said in a media statement provided to Dynamic Business.

“All Nurofen packs are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and comply with TGA’s regulatory guidelines. Nurofen pain-specific products provide easier navigation of pain-relief options in the grocery environment for consumers who are experiencing a particular type of pain.”

The company said they are “committed to the quality of medicines and promoting and protecting the health of Australians” and are working with regulatory bodies in complying with guidelines.

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