Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Big Surprise: Airborne is a Scam

At least twice a month I get some pitch from a company promoting something guaranteed to keep me healthy while I travel on a plane. No doubt this rash of products has been inspired by the success of Airborne, something I always felt was a big placebo scam, one step up from a Flintstones chewable.

Surprise surprise, if you bought this stuff you got duped. But you can have the last laugh. The company just settled a lawsuit and will have to pony up $23 million. Turns out there was no scientific basis for any of their claims. They just said, "Hey, it works for us!"

"Consumers are still likely to be misled by the product," says David Schardt, a senior nutritionist with the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "He and his teams searched for anyone who had studied Airborne's combination of herbs and vitamins. The company had pointed to one research effort, but that was later revealed to be a two-person project paid for by Airborne. 'It was so bad,' Schardt says. 'The company wouldn't let anyone see it.'

"Schardt hopes the lessons of Airborne will discourage companies from making claims 'until they have evidence that the product works.'"

And as World Hum notes, that green scum around the glass was kind of scary anyway. Nice packaging on the box, but snake oil usually had nice drawings on it too...

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