Nurofen forced to pull pain specific products, claims it did not set out to mislead consumers

Nurofen has been forced to pull one of its major product lines after a court found it had engaged in misleading conduct, claiming its products where pain specific, when the products were in fact identical.

Nurofen Specific Pain products landscapeThe leading pain brand was forced to concede to the Federal Court that it had mislead consumers and was ordered to remove the Nurofen Specific Pain products – covering back, period, migraine and tension headaches – from shelves within three months.

“Nurofen did not set out to mislead consumers,” said a Nurofen spokeswoman. “(We have) co-operated with the ACCC in relation to these proceedings and will fully comply with the court order made today”.

This is not the first time the pain relief brand, and its parent Reckitt Benckiser, has been reprimanded for its advertising with the Therapeutic Goods Administration forcing the withdrawal of an ad which claimed “targeted relief” back in 2013.

“The ACCC took these proceedings because it was concerned that consumers may have purchased these products in the belief that they specifically treated a certain type of pain, based on the representations on the packaging, when this was not the case,” said Rod Sims, ACCC chairman.

“Truth in advertising and consumer issues in the health and medical sectors are priority areas for the ACCC, to ensure that consumers are given accurate information when making their purchasing decisions.”

“Any representations which are difficult for a consumer to test will face greater scrutiny from the ACCC,”  he said.

The ACCC noted that retail price of the Nurofen Specific Pain Products was significantly higher than that of other comparable analgesic products which also act as general pain relievers.

The competition watchdog has agreed an interim packaging arrangement with Reckitt Benckiser for use following the removal of these products. This will clearly disclose to consumers that the products are equally effective for other forms of pain.

Nurofen will also publish website and newspaper corrective notices, implement a compliance program, and pay the costs. A hearing on penalty will be held on a date to be fixed by the court.

Nic Christensen


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