FTC: Oprah Full Of It--Airborne Pills Won't Keep You Healthy

Despite customers’ claims to the contrary, the Federal Trade Commission ruled that Airborne won’t keep you from getting sick. So, swallow as many of those fizzy tablets as you want, but don’t be surprised if you still develop a cold.

The FTC decision marks another rare moment in which Oprah was wrong. No word on whether she’ll have Airborne’s execs or founder on her show for a James Frey-style lashing.

Washington Post: Over the past decade, millions of consumers, including Oprah, have come to swear by Airborne — fizzy orange tablets containing vitamins, herbs and minerals that its makers for years said keeps cold germs at bay…

Airborne, however, when used as directed does not prevent class-action lawsuits, charges of deceptive advertising — or, according to the government, the common cold.

“There is no credible evidence that Airborne products . . . will reduce the severity or duration of colds, or provide any tangible benefit for people who are exposed to germs in crowded places,” said Lydia Parnes, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, which filed a complaint against Airborne’s makers.

The remedy prescribed by the FTC is for Airborne to pay consumers back for as many as six purchases, a nationwide total of as much as $30 million.

Under a settlement announced yesterday, the privately held Airborne Health, based in Bonita Springs, Fla., will add $6.5 million to funds it has already agreed to pay to settle a related class-action lawsuit. That suit, which alleged that Airborne falsely claimed its products could cure or prevent colds, was settled earlier this year for $23.5 million.

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