Nurofen to Compensate Customers who Purchased Targeted Pain Relief Medication

Tuesday 8 August 2017 @ 9.59 a.m. | Industrial Law | Legal Research | Trade & Commerce

It has been reported that Australian consumers who paid a premium price for Nurofen's "misleading" targeted pain relief pills, can apply for compensation after the manufacturer (Reckitt Benckiser) agreed to settle a class action lawsuit. Reckitt Benckiser will pay $3.5 million to customers who purchased the painkillers between 2011 and 2015.

See previous TimeBase articles re: Reckitt Benckiser.

The Claims

The specific pain range claimed to target back pain, migraines, tension headaches and period pain, despite containing nearly identical ingredients to regular Nurofen painkillers, were sold at almost twice the price of Nurofen's general product, with the company making $45 million in revenue from the specific product range in four years.

The Federal Court ordered the pills be removed from the shelves in 2015, and imposed a $1.7 million fine against Reckitt Benckiser for misleading the market.

Appeal from the ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) appealed against the 2015 decision, arguing the penalty did not go far enough. The court agreed to raise the fine to $6 million - the highest corporate penalty awarded for misleading conduct under the Australian Consumer Law (the ACL- contained in Sch 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)).

Comment from Reckitt Benckiser

Reckitt Benckiser said it decided to settle the case as its main priority is to ensure Nurofen customers were swiftly compensated. In a statement, the company said:

"It was never our intention to mislead, but we recognise that we could have done more to assist our consumers in navigating the Nurofen Specific Pain Range in Australia. We have taken the Nurofen Specific Pain Range cases seriously, and have taken steps to ensure that future marketing campaigns are sensitive to the risk of misinterpretation and confusion, while providing consumers with an informed choice."

Compensation for Customers

An independent third party will be brought in to divide the $3.5 million between affected Nurofen customers as well as Reckitt Benckiser paying the legal costs of the third party. Settlement notices will also be published in Australian newspapers, calling for people who bought the products between January 2011 and December 2015 to register a claim.

Nurofen Australia has already accepted a Federal Court judgment that sided with the ACCC and found that the company “engaged in conduct that is misleading or deceptive” when marketing the pills. The company said it took immediate action to provide additional information on the packs.

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Nurofen makers offer to settle after consumers ‘misled’ over pain relief –

Nurofen to pay $3.5 million compensation to customers who bought 'misleading' pain relief –

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