(Reuters) – Australian subsidiaries GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG missed the customers and broke the law by promoting identical lines as if they were able to deal with specific diseases, an Australian court found on Friday.
The court said companies adopted marketing of Voltaren Osteo Gel as a treatment for osteoarthritis-related pain when its ingredients were the same as a cheaper Voltaren product, Emulgel.
Judge Robert Bromwich said in a written decision that it was part of a "deliberate and Novartis and GSK suspected osteoarthritis affected by the purchase of the more expensive Osteo Gel who thought it was more effective," said Sarah Court, Australian Commissioner Consumer guard who brought the trial said in a statement.
GSK said it had recognized the claims and that it was pleasing. Judge Bromwich also found packaging changes since 2017 corrected law violations, something the consumer watchdog had challenged.
"We take consumer law seriously," GSK
Novartis marketed and sold the gels until the consumer departments Novartis and GSK were combined and eventually acquired by GSK in 2016. Novartis said in a statement that it did not defend the case and referred Reuters to GSK .
Judge Bromwich should not yet bow, but the maximum penalty is the highest of A $ 10 million ($ 7 million), three times the benefit achieved through the misleading behavior or – if it cannot be determined – a tenth of The annual turnover of
Osteo Gel costs about one-third more than Emulgel and claims of its superior efficiency occurred online and on product packaging between 2012 and 2017.
The verdict follows a 2016 Federal Court Decree against Reckitt Benckiser, which was found to have marketed identical painkillers for different types of pain.