Friday, August 22, 2008

Did you buy Airborne?

Did you buy Airborne? I know I did. I thought is was supposed to prevent colds. I guess I am a sucker! I got this email from the Bureau of Consumer Protection with the Federal Trade Commission.

Here’s great news for consumers who bought Airborne, that tablet “created by a school teacher” advertised to prevent and treat colds. We hope you can spread the word to your readers that due to lawsuits alleging deceptive advertising, refunds are available for consumer who bought Airborne. But they have to act now because the deadline for the $30 million refund program is September 15, 2008.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, just settled a lawsuit with the company that sold Airborne. The FTC charged that they made deceptive claims that the product would reduce the severity or duration of colds. According to the FTC, there is no credible evidence that the product provided any tangible benefit for people who are exposed to germs in crowded places.

To settle the FTC’s case and a separate class action lawsuit, the company has agreed to refund up to $30 million to consumers who bought the product. Your readers can file an easy online refund claim at For more information about the FTC’s lawsuit, visit

For up to six purchases, consumers do not need to file proofs of purchase to get their money back. But they do have to request a refund by the September 15th deadline.

You can count me in on this one. I still have some old Airborne bottles in the medicine cabinet, but no receipts. So I will be claiming the six bottles I can without a receipt.

I talked to Nat Wood with the FTC today briefly and he said the Airborne bottles retail for between 6-9 dollars. So consumers can expect to get back anywhere from $6.00 to $81.00 depending on how much they spent. Wood said, "It effects a lot of people. We regularly do this(get consumers their money back for faulty products), but this is a particularly well known product so it is a big deal." If you happen to have receipts showing you bought more than six bottles, you can get back your total purchase!

I know this product was advertised on Oprah and she talked about it. I wonder what her thoughts are on this ruling. Did you buy into the Airborne craze?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

Methodist Medical Center's new online healthcare program, MyMethodist eHealth, is a proud sponsor of this blog post. MyMethodist eHealth is the secure link to your doctor's office that lets you request appointments, order prescription refills, update your personal health record, and more. Sign up for MyMethodist eHealth here.


Maria said...

Nope. Never got in to it.

Melody said...

Thank you so much for letting us know. I used to take it every fall and winter as a precaution. I have several friends who did the same. I will be sending them to your blog as well so they can get the information.

Shannon said...

I've bought it before and did have success with it at the onset of a cold. Maybe it was the Airborne, maybe it wasn't... I guess I can't know for sure but I certainly expected that when I bought and decided to use it. If I take a Tylenol for a headache I can't really be sure if it was the Tylenol or time that made it go away, can I?

This all seems a bit silly to me.

I can think of lots of products that don't do what their marketing says they do.... and a lot of things that have scarier ingredients too.

Rachael said...

I heard they reformulated it very recently, but originally if taken as directed you could receive a dose of over 25,000 I.U.s of Vitamin A...this is 5 times the recommended maximum amount (5,000 units) an adult should be ingesting in a day. Excessive vitamin A has been linked to fetal birth defects. Irresponsible and dangerous to say the least! I'm happy this manufacturer is finally getting crucified.

Jeff said...

I for one am tired of profiteers giving the natural supplement business a bad name. These companies will manipulate research to trick people into thinking their products can product unrealistic health effects.

If you notice, they will never let you see any information about a study that hard outcomes that people care about (i.e. a placebo controlled trial that showed people got better sooner, or that they did not have symptoms as severe or as long). They will take facts such as “our product has anti-oxidants” and then make unsubstantiated claims like “you will get better faster.”

Don’t get me wrong, there are some very legitimate products out there, and there are some products that probably work but just have not been studied yet. But be wary of a product that refuses to go to the final level of research by doing studies against a placebo with out comes that matter to people.

Companies should give open access to all relevant research and then let people read & decide for themselves. Compare the below website with others, and you will see how focusing on and giving access to relevant studies helps the public make informed decisions.

The industry should adopt the higher standard.


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