RB loses final Nurofen appeal in High Court

It must pay the $6 million penalty for making misleading representations about its Nurofen Specific Pain products

A final High Court appeal by Reckitt Benckiser against a penalty imposed for contravening the Australian Consumer Law has been rejected this week, Fairfax reports.

The initial $1.7 million penalty handed down by the Full Court in April 2016 was revised up to $6 million in December after an appeal by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The Full Court had found that a $1.7 million penalty was ‘manifestly inadequate’ given the need for deterrence and the substantial consumer loss suffered.

After the decision was handed down, Reckitt Benckiser applied for special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia, arguing that the Full Court had erred in its assessment of consumer loss and in finding that the original penalty was manifestly inadequate, Fairfax reports.

A Nurofen spokeswoman told the Sydney Morning Herald it was disappointed by the High Court’s rejection of its appeal.

“In 2015, Nurofen accepted that the representations made on the Nurofen Specific Pain Range webpage and packaging may have misled consumers…Nurofen did not intend to mislead consumers and we apologise to those of our consumers who were misled,” she said.

“The Nurofen Specific Pain Range was introduced with the intention to provide easy navigation of pain relief options, particularly within the grocery environment where pharmacy support is not available.”

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