Judge rules companies made false or misleading Voltaren Osteo Gel and Emulgel representations.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has just announced a Federal Court finding that GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Australia Pty Ltd (GSK) and Novartis Consumer Healthcare Australasia Pty Ltd breached Australian Consumer Law in the marketing of Voltaren Osteo Gel and Voltaren Emulgel pain relief products.
The Court found that from 2012 to 2017 Novartis and then GSK, marketed Osteo Gel as being specifically formulated and more effective than Emulgel in treating osteoarthritis related pain and inflammation.
“In fact, Osteo Gel and Emulgel products are essentially the same,” said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court, who noted an ACCC investigation that found despite having the same active ingredients, Osteo Gel was often sold at a significantly higher price than Emulgel.
The claims were made on product packaging and the Voltaren website by both companies and Novartis also made the claims on the My Joint Health website, Court said.
“This decision serves as a warning to all businesses that misleading consumers into thinking that products are specifically formulated to treat or target certain conditions when this is not the case can lead to serious consequences,” she added.
The ACCC noted that Novartis and GSK’s conduct continued after the Commission’s successful action against Reckitt Benckiser for similar conduct involving Nurofen pain relief products.
A hearing will be held at a later date to determine penalties sought by the ACCC.
More details in Monday’s issue of Pharmacy Daily.