SEOUL, Apr. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — Sales by Oxy Reckitt Benckiser, the South Korean unit of British household goods maker Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, nearly halved over the past two years in the wake of widespread consumer boycotts, industry sources said Wednesday.
Local civic groups launched boycotts as the company sold home humidifier sterilizers using chemicals, such as polyhexamethylene guanidine (PHMG), that led to the deaths of more than 100 people here. The products were sold without proper warnings.
According to sources familiar with the matter, sales of Oxy’s indigestion reliever Gaviscon came to 3.8 billion won (US$3.5 million) last year, down from 8.05 billion won in 2015.
The sales of throat lozenge Strepsils also shrank to 3.6 billion won in 2017 compared to 7 billion won tallied in 2015, they said.
The Oxy disinfectants were sold in South Korea from 2001. The product’s risks first came to light in 2011 after some pregnant women died of unidentified lung ailments. Local authorities launched a probe and concluded that the deaths were caused by PHMG.