Australia watchdog appeals $1.2 million Reckitt Benckiser fine as too light

MELBOURNE Australia’s competition watchdog has filed an appeal against a fine of A$1.7 million ($1.2 million) imposed on British consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser for misleading consumers on painkiller marketing, arguing that it is too light.

Australia’s federal court this month imposed the penalty after finding Reckitt Benckiser had been deceptive in suggesting on its web site and packaging that its Nurofen Back Pain, Period Pain, Migraine Pain and Tension Headache products were formulated to target those types of pain although they all had the same active ingredient.

“The ACCC will submit to the Full Court of the Federal Court that A$1.7 million in penalties imposed on a company the size of Reckitt Benckiser does not act as an adequate deterrent and might be viewed as simply a cost of doing business,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement on Monday.

The commission has argued that a penalty of at least A$6 million would have been appropriate, in light of the millions of dollars in profits the company had made from the sale of those products.

Reckitt Benckiser, which has a market capitalization of $70 billion, said its Nurofen division was “carefully considering the appeal with its legal advisers.”

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Stephen Coates and Edwina Gibbs)

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