Airborne Settles for $23.3 Million
Jonathan Adler passes on word that, “The makers of Airborne vitamin supplement have agreed to a $23.3 million class action settlement for false advertising. Though it’s now marketed as nothing more than an immune booster, the manufacturer used to advertise Airborne could prevent or cure the common cold, despite the lack of any real clinical evidence for such claims.”
His colleague David Bernstein quips in the comments section, “But it was invented by a former schoolteacher! And who knows more about the science of preventing and treating colds than a former schoolteacher?” That’s always been my reaction as well.
Clearly, though, the campaign has worked because they’re still using it.
When Victoria Knight-McDowell taught second grade at Spreckels Elementary School near Carmel, California, she often brought home more than papers to grade. “Back to school meant back to being exposed to germy students,” recalls Victoria.
That inspired her to create a drug-free formula that would give her immune system a fighting chance against germs and viruses. After consulting with nutrition experts and herbalists, she experimented with different formulations and delivery methods before creating the blend that would eventually become Airborne.
But the idea that it’s merely a supplement to help boost the immune system is new. Until quite recently, it was, quite literally, packaged as a cold fighter:
Developed by a school teacher who was tired of getting sick in the classroom Airborne’s unique natural formula fights colds with 17 active ingredients that offer maximum vitamin and herbal support and natural ginger for nausea. Airborne can be used in two ways: take it at the first sign of a cold, to help your body beat it, or take it before entering crowded and potentially germ infested environments (like airplanes) to lessen the chances of contracting a cold in the first place.
Paying back $23 million is a pretty small price to pay, really, for outright fraud.