The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on Thursday imposed a fine of Rs150 million on a pharmaceutical company for misleading marketing and misleading advertising of one of its products.
The order, passed by a CCP bench composed of President Rahat Kaunain Hassan and member Bushra Naz Malik.
Moreover, they said that the pharmaceutical company’s marketing claims could potentially mislead consumers regarding the characteristics, formulation, and intended use of Strepsils tablets.
However, The commission said that the company’s marketing deceived the general public, making them realize that Strepsils was still a drug for sore throat.
The CCP investigation concluded that the marketing campaign appears to be misleading under Section 10 of the Competition Act in general, which prohibits the distribution of false and misleading information to consumers.
But M / s Square Distribution & Marketing System (Pvt) Limited gave attention to this issue through a formal complaint alleging that M / s Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan Limited is misleading information to consumers, creating the impression that its Strepsils product was a medication for sore throat and cough.
Furthermore, The complaint pointed out that Strepsils was unregistered as a drug when acquired by Reckitt from Boots in 2005, and then relaunched with the liability exemption, “Non-medicated Lozenges”.
However, “the company made no effort to educate and inform consumers about the discontinuation of the medicinal ingredient in it,” added the complaint.
“The misleading campaign was also able to harm the commercial interests of other companies.“.
The CCP’s committee of inquiry also noted that the company’s efforts to inform the general public about the change in the Strepsils formula were inadequate.
However, The CCP bench gave the defendant 40 days from the date of dispatch to comply with its guidelines.