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5/2/16

Chemical/Pharmaceutical Industry - Britain: Reckitt Benckiser sold deadly sterilisers in South Korea

British-based firm Reckitt Benckiser has admitted for the first time selling a humidifier disinfectant that killed about 100 people in South Korea.

The head of its South Korean division was attacked by angry relatives as he apologized at a Seoul hotel.

Reckitt Benckiser is among several firms whose products are blamed for the deaths.

It has offered compensation to the families of those who died, as well as the hundreds more who were injured.

Reckitt Benckiser withdrew its product from the market after South Korean authorities suggested a link between chemicals to sterilise humidifiers and lung conditions in 2011.

"This is the first time we are accepting the fullest responsibility, and we are offering a complete and full apology. We were late, five years have passed," Ataur Safdar said.

He added that the company was setting up a multi-million dollar humanitarian fund for the victims and their families.

Many are said to be children or pregnant women.

The company, which also makes painkiller Nurofen, was fined last week in Australia for misleading customers.

A court ruled that products marketed as targeting specific pains, such as migraine, were actually identical.

 Background on Reckitt Benckiser
  • Their tagline: "Healthier lives, happier homes"
  • Pre-tax profit (2015): $3.2bn
  • Key products: Dettol, Nurofen, Durex, Cillit Bang, Vanish, Clearasil
  • Founded: 1819-1823 in UK by millers Isaac and Thomas Reckitt, and Johann A Benckiser, industrial chemicals business owner
  • Presence: 60 countries, with 37,000 employees
 Reckitt Benckiser sold deadly sterilisers in South Korea - BBC News

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