Nurofen Owner Ordered To Stop Selling ‘Misleading’ Target-Specific Painkillers

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It’s all turned into a bit of a headache for Nurofen. Well, in Australia, at least.

An Australian court has confirmed what we’ve all been suspecting: several of Nurofen’s target-specific painkillers are identical to its standard ibuprofen pills. That means that, while Australians have been picking up Nurofen tablets they thought offered targeted relief from migraines, back pain, period pain and migraines, they’ve actually just been picking up pills in different colour boxes.

And that’s not the worst bit: the court has ordered Nurofen’s UK owner to stop selling the range of painkillers in Australia. Why? Well, in some cases they were on the shelves for almost twice as much as the standard Nurofen packets.

Nurofen targeted pain relief tablets
Source: REUTERS/Jason Reed

Nurofen Targeted Pain Relief: What’s The Story?

This story begins all the way back in March. Australia’s consumer watchdog launched court action, arguing that each of the four products contained an identical amount of the same active ingredient, ibuprofen lysine. In short, they argued that the Nurofen packets were misleading.

The court agreed. In fact, the products were found to be “no more effective at treating the type of pain described on its packaging than any of the other Nurofen specific pain products.” And that’s where the real issue lies.

Nurofen targeted pain relief tablets

Now, the court has ordered manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser to remove all Nurofen targeted pain relief from Australian shelves within three months. Reckitt Benckiser are also being ordered to publish website and newspaper corrective notices. And implement a consumer protection compliance programme. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of paying the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s costs.

A Nurofen spokeswoman, Montse Pena, was quick to address the ruling. She said:

“Nurofen did not set out to mislead consumers.”

She added:

“Nurofen has cooperated with the ACCC in relation to these proceedings and will fully comply with the court order made today.”

What Does This Mean For Nurofen Targeted Pain Relief Packs Elsewhere?

Reckitt Benckiser have said that this case relates only to Australia. Regardless, it’s bound to get consumers feeling sceptical about future purchases. And they’ll definitely be checking ingredients and supermarket pricing with renewed interest next time they’re feeling under the weather.

Nurofen targeted pain relief tablets

What do you think? Has the ruling regarding Nurofen targeted pain relief tablets made you think twice about purchasing them in the future? Let us know in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.