The Federal Court has ordered Reckitt Benckiser to pay a penalty of $1.7 million for engaging in misleading conduct in relation to its Nurofen Specific Pain products in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The court ordered Reckitt Benckiser to pay for contravening the Australian Consumer Law by making representations on its website and packaging that Nurofen Specific Pain products were each formulated to specifically treat a particular type of pain when this was not the case.
Each product contained the same active ingredient, which treats a wide variety of pain conditions.
“In taking this enforcement action, the ACCC was particularly concerned that consumers had been misled into purchasing Nurofen Specific Pain products, and paying more for those in the belief that each product was specifically designed for and effective in treating a particular type of pain when this was not the case,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
Consumer advocacy group Choice says the $1.7 million fine did not provide Reckitt Benckiser with enough financial pain.
“These massive global companies should be made to pay fines that fit the crime,” Choice Head of Media and spokesperson Tom Godfrey said. “The law needs to be changed so that courts can and will issue penalties that give companies a real headache.”
The federal Government is currently conducting a review into Australia’s consumer law framework. Submissions to the issues paper are due on May 27, 2016.