Nurofen pain relievers targeting specific types of pain are seen on a pharmacy shelf in Sydney, Australia December 14, 2015. An Australian court has ordered British consumer goods maker Reckitt Benckiser to pull several of its Nurofen pain relief ranges from the market after finding its claims the products attacked particular types of pain was misleading. Reuters/Jason Reed

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has lodged an appeal against the size of fine imposed by the Federal Court on the makers of Nurofen painkiller for the breach of consumer laws. Last month, pharmaceutical giant Reckitt Benckiser was fined $1.7 million for misleading the public into believing that its Nurofen painkiller range treated specific pains. In reality, the company used the same active ingredient (342 milligrams of ibuprofen lysine) in all its products.

The ACCC originally asked the court to impose a fine of $6 million as chairman Rod Sims said that the original fine imposed would not deter pharma companies from breaching consumer laws. He believed that a fine of $1.7 million would not send a strong deterrence message or catch peoples’ attention. Simmons was disappointed with the size of fine imposed on such a corporate giant.

ACCC thought that the $6 million was a “minimum guide.” Now, the penalty under appeal may go even higher. Over a five-year-period, Reckitt Benckiser sold 5.9 million units of Nurofen through 8,500 outlets nationwide. The company made millions in profits. A spokeswoman for Nurofen said that the company was closely considering the appeal with its legal advisors after ACCC filed the Notice of Appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court. Previously, Reckitt Benckiser argued that a fine of $1.1 million was appropriate.

Justice James Edelman pointed out that the penalty would have been much more if ACCC argued that the company’s conduct was intentional and reckless. Moreover, the court gave a discount to Reckitt Benckiser as it fully co-operated with ACCC’s investigation. The company also admitted to its wrongdoing. The court considered all these factors before zeroing in on the $1.7 million fine.