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March 3, 2008

1 Min Read
Airborne Settles Class Action Suit

WASHINGTON—The makers of the Airborne dietary supplement settled a class action lawsuit, which charged the product’s marketing included false claims it could cure the common cold. Part of the $23 million settlement includes refunds for consumers who purchased Airborne, as well as stipulations the defendants must run ads in publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, Parade, People and Newsweek, instructing consumers how to get refunds.

Airborne was created by second-grade teacher Victoria Knight McDowell and her screenwriter husband Thomas Rider McDowell, and promised to “boost your immune system to help your body combat germs”; labeling also instructed users to “take it at the first sign of a cold symptom or before entering crowded, potentially germ-infested environments.” The company faced a consumer lawsuit in 2006, after ABC News revealed the lone clinical trial for Airborne was not conducted by a reputable pharmaceutical organization, but a two-man crew set up just for the Airborne trial. The defendants stopped mentioning the trial in its marketing. Then, in 2007, FTC and a band of state attorneys general began an investigation into Airborne's cold claims.

“There’s no credible evidence that what’s in Airborne can prevent colds or protect you from a germy environment,” said David Schardt, senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which reviewed Airborne’s claims as co-counsel in the class action litigation. “Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that’s been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed.”

Consumers seeking refunds can visit http://www.airbornehealthsettlement.com/submitClaim.aspx

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