Nurofen receives record-fine for misleading customers

Austalian courts have ruled it marketed identical pills under different names

Nurofen receives record-fine for misleading customers

Kirsty Wigglesworth AP / Press Association Images

The manufacturer of the painkiller Nurofen has been issued an increased fine of $6m Australian dollars (€4.3m) for misleading customers in Australia.

Its Federal Court ruled last year that a series of Nurofen products which were marketed to target different pains such as migraines, back pain, period pain, and tension headaches were all identical.

Reckitt Benckiser - the British firm that makes the pills was fined $1.7m Australian dollars in April. The country's consumer watchdog argued that this fine was too low and the court agreed that this penalty was not harsh enough.

"The objective of any penalty in this case must be to ensure that Reckitt Benckiser and other 'would-be wrongdoers' think twice and decide not to act against the strong public interest," the court said.

The company will also have to pay the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's legal costs.

Reckitt Benckiser's fine is the highest-ever corporate penalty awarded for misleading conduct under Australian Consumer Law.

"The ACCC welcomes this decision, having originally submitted that a penalty of $6 million or higher was appropriate given the longstanding and widespread nature of the conduct, and the substantial sales and profit that was made," the watchdog said in a statement.

The company told the BBC that it is disappointing by the decision and that it is seeking legal advice.