Nurofen maker, Reckitt Benckiser, is in trouble in Australia for marketing different sub-brands of its core product as designed to treat specific types of pain, when in fact the product in each is identical. The issue has now hit the UK with the company's British arm justifying the practice by pointing out that consumers actively look for "back pain tablets" and so on and the sub-branding is therefore helpful to them.
I have to say I think they have a point but what's interesting is that they're being careful to avoid saying what has long been suspected and proved in some trials: the placebo effect can increase the power of a real pain killer. In other words, the sub-branding may be making their product more effective than if they marketed it as generic pain relief. So is anyone actually being mislead here? It's a knotty one.
An Australian court had found that the Nurofen maker had "engaged in misleading conduct in contravention of the Australian consumer law by representing that its Nurofen Specific Pain products were each formulated to treat a specific type of pain, when the products are identical".