Airborne Reaches Largest Ever Dietary Supplement Settlement

December 16, 2008

A $7 million settlement has been reached between Airborne Health Inc. (Minneapolis), Florida, and 31 other states, said Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum on December 16.

A $7 million settlement has been reached between Airborne Health Inc. (Minneapolis), Florida, and 31 other states, said Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum on December 16. Under the settlement, the Florida-based company and owners Victoria Knight-McDowell and Thomas John McDowell will modify marketing practices in order to alleviate allegations against unsubstantiated claims concerning Airborne products.

The lawsuit alleged that the company marketed a “cold prevention remedy,” a “sore throat remedy,” a “germ fighter,” and an “allergy remedy” without adequate proof the products could perform as advertised at the time the claims were made.

The lawsuit also alleged the defendants failed to adequately warn consumers about potential health risks to select populations, including pregnant women, caused by old formulations of Airborne that contained potentially elevated levels of vitamin A. The company has since significantly reduced the vitamin A levels.
The $7 million payment is the largest payment to date in a multistate settlement with a dietary supplement producer. Florida’s share of the $7 million is $460,000, which will go toward future monitoring and enforcement in this area.

Under the settlement, the company and the McDowells have agreed not to make any express or implied claims concerning the health benefit, performance, efficacy, or safety of their products, unless the claim can be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

The settlement is the last of three settlements involving similar claims regarding the older advertising and labeling of Airborne dietary supplements.

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