Reckitt Benckiser taking heat from Australian, British watchdogs for pain med ads
- An Australian court ruled that four Nurofen products for specific types of pain are actually the same product. In the opinion of the Federal Court, Reckitt Benckiser intentionally misled customers to think the different products produced different kinds of pain-relief. Ailment-specific products, such as Nurofen Migraine Pain, costs almost twice as much as regular Nurofen.
- Britain's Advertising Standards Authority is also now looking into complaints about the ads.
- Nurofen is sold in the Australian, British and New Zealand markets.
- Reckitt Benckiser said it did not intend to mislead consumers, but agreed to change its packaging.
Reckitt Benckiser has three months to remove the current Nurofen-specific pain products from OTC pharmacy shelves, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The company claims it did not intend to mislead consumers, but instead was attempting to help patients make proper pain-relief treatment decisions.
While Reckitt Benckiser's assertion is reasonable, the attendant pricing strategy is not. According to the ACCC, each Nurofen product contained identical doses of ibuprofen lysine and did not have any additional efficacy in treating specific types of pain versus the regular branded Nurofen.
Often, drugs are differentiated and priced based on very different formulation differences. Even then, there may be some concerns about misleading branding. This, though, appears to be a clear case of false advertising.