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Tatev Khachatryan

Australian Court Pulls Nurofen from Shelves: Pain Killer Sold In Armenia

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered a variety of pain killers, marketed under the name Nurofen and manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser, to be removed from store shelves because they all contain identical contents, despite being marketed to target different types of pain.

The company has been ordered to remove the products from the shelves within three months, and to publish corrective notices to inform consumers of the findings.

In his judgment, Justice James Edelman wrote: 'None of the four products is any more or less effective than the others in treating any of the particular symptoms.' 

The court found that British-based multinational had made misleading claims about its Nurofen Back Pain, Nurofen Period Pain, Nurofen Migraine Pain and Nurofen Tension Headache products. It was found the active ingredient, ibuprofen lysine 342mg, was the same in each of the products, and each product had the same effect on pain.

Consumer advocates advise people to purchase much cheaper generic brands (Ibuprofen) that work just as well. In Armenia, Ibuprofen sells for ten times less than Nurofen brands.

The following chart shows different Nurofen pain killer brands listed on Armenia's State Medicine Registry until 2015-2020.

The British drug company denied that it had intended to mislead customers and said it would replace Australian products with new packaging that clearly states the drugs are equally effective at treating other forms of pain. 

Aomesh Bhatt, head of regulatory and medical affairs for Reckitt Benckiser in Europe, said: 'The Nurofen specific-pain range was launched with an intention to help consumers navigate their pain relief options, particularly in grocers where there is no healthcare professional to assist,' he said.

A hearing is yet to be set by the court to discuss a penalty amount for the company. 

Photo: Reuters

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