Nurofen fined $6m for misleading consumers

Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of Nurofen, has been fined $6 million by the Full Federal Court for misleading consumers. The penalty serves as a warning against toxic workplace cultures where potentially unlawful behaviour is unchecked.

The Federal Court initially fined Reckitt Benckiser $1.7 million in April 2016 for making misleading representations about its Nurofen Specific Pain products. The company claimed that each product was designed to target different areas of pain on the body. Despite being around twice as expensive as the standard Nurofen products, the so-called specific target products were no different from the standard products, which also contained the same amount of active ingredient.

The ACCC appealed the lenience of the original penalty, and in December 2016 the Full Federal Court agreed, stating that it was manifestly inadequate given the need for deterrence and the substantial consumer loss suffered. The increased penalty of $6 million is the highest corporate penalty awarded for misleading conduct under Australian consumer law.

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