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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 19623

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

Burton K
Company won't budge on Nurofen claims
Pharmacy News 2011 Sep 9

Full text:

Despite the TGA’s instruction for Reckitt Benckiser to withdraw Nurofen (ibuprofen) TV advertisements over claims the product provided “targeted pain relief,” the drug manufacturer says messages that Nurofen “works at the site of pain,” will stay.
A statement released today by Reckitt Benckiser said they did not agree with a number of sanctions requested by the TGA’s Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP) and the company was preparing a response to them.
“Nurofen advises that consumers will continue to see the familiar branding of Nurofen target and messages of Nurofen working at the site of pain,” the statement read.
Reckitt said the branding would include TGA approved claims on packs that Nurofen provided targeted relief from pain.
Nurofen said the TGA had no questions regarding the product’s safety and efficacy information in any of its advertising or packaging.
As reported by Pharmacy News, the CRP determined that claims Nurofen targeted pain for headaches, could not be represented in any other advertisements.
The complainant, Professor Paul Rolan, said that the phrases “targeted pain relief” on the packet and the claim that Nurofen “goes straight to the source of the pain,” were factually incorrect and misleading.
“It works by being absorbed in the blood stream and being distributed widely around the body, not only to where it was needed but to everywhere else as well,” he argued.
The CRP determined a reasonable consumer viewing the advertisement would form a view that Nurofen itself, physically concentrated in
the part of the head affected by a headache, and was not distributed to the rest of the body.


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Email a Friend influence multinational corporations effectively, the efforts of governments will have to be complemented by others, notably the many voluntary organisations that have shown they can effectively represent society’s public-health interests…
A small group known as Healthy Skepticism; formerly the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing) has consistently and insistently drawn the attention of producers to promotional malpractice, calling for (and often securing) correction. These organisations [Healthy Skepticism, Médecins Sans Frontières and Health Action International] are small, but they are capable; they bear malice towards no one, and they are inscrutably honest. If industry is indeed persuaded to face up to its social responsibilities in the coming years it may well be because of these associations and others like them.
- Dukes MN. Accountability of the pharmaceutical industry. Lancet. 2002 Nov 23; 360(9346)1682-4.