Airborne Agrees to $23.3 Million False Claims Settlement

March 07, 2008 11:58 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Makers of popular multivitamin supplement Airborne falsely claimed that the product cures and prevents colds.

30-Second Summary

Customers of Airborne, the popular multivitamin and herbal supplement, might want to find another cold treatment.

NPR reports this week that Airborne will pay out $23.3 million in a class-action settlement for making false claims. The manufacturers first said that their formula could prevent colds and then later claimed it boosted the immune system. Airborne was developed by former second-grade teacher Victoria Knight-McDowell.

"There's no credible evidence that what's in Airborne can prevent colds or protect you from a germy environment," David Schardt, a nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in a written statement. "Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that's been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed."

ABC questioned Airborne’s claims back in 2006. It found that the research that the company cites to back its claims was actually a two-man operation set up just to do the Airborne study. "I would never sit here and tell you that it's a cure for the common cold," the product’s CEO Elise Donahue told ABC. "What Airborne does is it helps your body build a healthy immune system."

Past Airborne customers can visit the Web site to file a claim. A refund is available for customers who can supply a receipt.

Tens of millions of adults in the United States take multivitamins and supplements, but the Mayo Clinic reports that there is increasing evidence that many may not provide the health benefits that they promise. In fact, some might even be harmful. Recently, Vitamin E supplements have come under scrutiny for increased risk of lung cancer.

Consumers should do their research before purchasing vitamins and other dietary supplements.

Headline Links: Airborne settles suit over false claims

Background: Does Airborne really stave off colds?

Related Topics: Multivitamins—are they the best thing for you?

Vitamin E linked to lung cancer

Reference: Get the facts on dietary supplements


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