The supply of Nurofen's specific pain range products in its current packaging to wholesalers has ceased.

It's the first step in fulfilling the agreement reached between Nurofen's manufacturer, Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) Limited and the Commerce Commission to stop the New Zealand sales of its Nurofen specific pain range products, migraine pain, period pain and back pain, in their current packaging by March 2016.

The first stage in the agreement with the Commission was to stop the supply of these drugs in their current boxes to wholesalers by January 14.

A spokeswoman for the company said while wholesalers could still sell their current stock to retailers, from March 23 the current packaging was to no longer be visible on the retail market.


"From March 23, the company must replace the current pain-specific products with new packaging including additional labelling."

The additional labelling would stipulate that each product could still be used for other types of pain.

"The additional information will make it clearer for consumers to understand that each product is equally effective in the treatment of other forms of pain."

The Commission's investigation into concerns around the representations made on the packaging were expected to be completed early this year.

It followed an investigation in Australia that the products' ingredients across the range were no different.

However, the company said its pain-specific range does differ in clinical performance from standard ibuprofen.

Its specific-pain range contains 342mg ibuprofen lysine which is more soluble and absorbed more quickly in the bloodstream than standard ibuprofen (acid).