Nurofen offers $3.5m settlement in class action

"Specific pain" products were sold for twice the price despite having the same active ingredient as ordinary Nurofen.

Australians who paid a premium for Nurofen's range of targeted pain relief products will be eligible for compensation after manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement in a class action lawsuit.

The settlement offer comes after the High Court of Australia upheld a record fine issued to Reckitt Benckiser over its misleading range of products in protracted court action taken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Reckitt Benckiser has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit by making a compensation payment of $3.5 million and covering the legal costs of firm Bannister Law, provided the Federal Court grants approval.

People who purchased Nurofen's specific pain range of products will be able to register a claim for compensation. Bannister Law is advising people to keep an eye out for notices to be published in newspapers in every Australian state.

"We recognise that we could have done more to assist our consumers in navigating the Nurofen Specific Pain Range in Australia," Reckitt Benckiser says in a statement.

Reckitt Benckiser claimed its Nurofen specific pain products were formulated to treat a particular type of pain, such as back pain, migraines, period pain and tension headaches, but each product contained the same amount of active ingredient ibuprofen lysine.

Estimates suggest Nurofen generated revenues of $45m from its range of targeted pain relief products, which it sold from 2011 until the Federal Court ordered them to be removed from store shelves in late 2015.

Registrations for the class action were first taken by law firm Bannister Law on Christmas Eve 2015, less than 10 days after the Federal Court ruled in favour of the ACCC's action, finding Reckitt Benckiser violated protected consumer rights by engaging in misleading conduct with its specific pain range of products.

The ACCC lodged an appeal claiming a fine of $1.7m would be of little consequence to a company as large as Reckitt Benckiser. The fine was increased in December 2016 to $6m, the highest corporate penalty ever awarded for misleading conduct under Australian Consumer Law, and was later upheld by the High Court of Australia upon being appealed by Reckitt Benckiser.