Accc wants more pain for nurofen

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THE consumer watchdog is appealing a $1.7 million fine handed to Reckitt Benckiser over claims Nurofen could target specific kinds of pain.

The penalty was handed down by the Federal Court last month after the drugmaker admitted it had breached the Australian Consumer Law by making false and misleading claims in its marketing.

The Specific Pain range Back Pain, Period Pain, Migraine Pain and Tension Headache all contained the same active ingredient, ibuprofen lysine 342mg.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had been seeking the maximum possible penalty of $6 million in order to act as a deterrent.

The ACCC will submit to the Full Court of the Federal Court that $1.7 million in penalties imposed on a company the size of Reckitt Benckiser does not act as an adequate deterrent and might be viewed as simply a cost of doing business, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

This is particularly the case when the judge found that Reckitt Benckiser had made many millions in profits from sales of 5.9 million units of these products at around 8500 outlets during the relevant period.

Mr Sims has previously called for the penalty regime under the Australian Consumer Law, which allows for a maximum of $1.1 million per breach, to be toughened.br

Under Australian Competition Law, individual breaches can be as high as $10 million, or companies can be fined up to 10 per cent of their turnover.

The largest penalty ever handed down under Australian Consumer Law was the $10 million Coles was forced to pay over its treatment of suppliers.

A Reckitt Benckiser spokeswoman said in a statement: Nurofen acknowledges that the ACCC has lodged an appeal in relation to the penalty decision of the Federal Court. Nurofen is carefully considering the appeal with its legal advisers.

Consumer group Choice has welcomed the appeal, describing the $1.7 million penalty as laughable. The fact that they are yet to remove the targeted pain relief claims from pain pill packs on supermarket shelves speaks volumes about how insignificant this penalty is, spokesman Tom Godfrey said.

Adding a waiver to the packs fine print will not take the pain out of your hip pocket.