Ad claims found unsubstantiated

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AFT Pharmaceuticals has again suffered disappointment in the Federal Court over advertising for Maxigesic, which was found to be misleading

AFT Pharmaceuticals contended that its claims that Maxigesic had superior efficacy to other paracetamol-ibuprofen combinations, but Reckitt Benckiser, manufacturer of competitor Nuromol, had begun legal action over these advertising claims.

AFT was seeking to re-open the matter after the final judgement had been given, but before it was published, saying the Court had misapprehended its case.

In the Federal Court Justice Jacqueline Gleeson noted that this judgement had concerned statements in a print ad, which AFT said had an adequate scientific foundation, and which Reckitt Benckiser had said in a cross-claim were “misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive”.

AFT’s application was refused and the company was told to pay costs.

“The Federal Court found on Tuesday that there is no adequate foundation in science for AFT Pharmaceuticals (AFT) to support claims made in relation to its Maxigesic product, and that AFT engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in breach of Australian Consumer Law in making its promotional claims,” RB said in a media statement.

“There is no adequate scientific foundation to support Maxigesic being stronger and more effective than Nuromol or other ibuprofen/paracetamol combinations, or indeed being more effective that ibuprofen or paracetamol alone.

 “The Federal Court has previously found that AFT engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in claiming that Maxigesic delivers stronger and better pain relief to Nuromol and other ibuprofen/paracetamol combinations, and any ibuprofen or paracetamol product alone. The Court made Orders restraining AFT from making these claims.”

 RB Health said it is “very pleased” with the judgement.

“It reflects the position that RB Health has asserted since September 2017; that AFT’s claims of superiority in relation to their Maxigesic product were unsubstantiated, and their conduct was misleading and deceptive to healthcare professionals and consumers. 

 “The Federal Court first found AFT to be engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct in October 2018. In February 2019, AFT commenced proceedings seeking declaratory relief that their promotional claims had an adequate foundation in science, and in doing so clearly indicated significant doubt on their own part as to this adequate foundation.

“RB Health is an active industry participant, a board member of peak body, Consumer Health Products, and has a mission do the right thing by its people and partners, always. 

“We know that many Australians rely on our products to care for themselves, their families and loved ones every day. 

“We continue to work with our valued pharmacy partners in our objective to make access to the highest quality health and wellness solutions for all Australians a right not a privilege.”

AFT Pharmaceuticals told the AJP that, “AFT Pharmaceuticals are awaiting final court orders before making any further comment”.

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