Companies were given another reminder this week about the importance of taking care when labelling products. The Commerce Commission has laid ten charges against Reckitt Benckiser, the producers of Nurofen, in relation to the "nature, characteristics and suitability" of certain Nurofen products. These products have since been removed from the market and Reckitt Benckiser has indicated that it intends to plead guilty.
The Fair Trading Act prohibits companies from, among other things, engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct, making unsubstantiated claims and making misrepresentations. This applies to all packaging and labelling that relates to a company's products: the company must ensure that the claims on its packaging are true, substantiated and not misleading. This week's charges show that the Commerce Commission is still keeping a close eye on the operation of these provisions, and is ready to continue its role as consumer protection watchdog by bringing charges when it considers standards to have been breached.
"The commission alleges that both the website and the packaging of these products gave the overall impression that the products were targeted to provide relief for a specific kind of pain. The commission alleges this was misleading because the pain specific products contained the same ingredients and were equally effective in treating any of the types of pain specified," said the watchdog.