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.

Victoria Knight-McDowell Inventor of Airborne Photo 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:

Airborne Fights Colds 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.

FILED UNDER: Health, Law and the Courts, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. jeff b says:

    People get colds and other upper respiratory diseases on airplanes not because of the crowds (which, after all, would apply just as well to subways and trains) but because of the low humidity. You spend 6 hours on a plane with zero atmospheric water, your respiratory system becomes dessicated and very vulnerable to infection. That’s why I always spray water up my nose when I’m flying (yes, seriously). That’s a sure way to even the odds.

    Boeing’s next airliner supposedly has normal cabin humidity, pressure, and temperature. I guess we’ll find out when they finally start delivering them.

  2. Triumph says:

    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.

    I can’t wait until the terrorist teachers unions try and jump to the fraudster’s defense.

  3. Anderson says:

    I can’t wait until the terrorist teachers unions try and jump to the fraudster’s defense.

    Oh, you know they will. What’s the point of blowing up a jetliner if it’s only half full due to people afraid of colds?

    This “remedy” from this “teacher” obviously was part of the master strategy … let’s waterboard KSM some more, I bet he confirms everything after a few near-asphyxiations.