News

Got Receipts? Airborne Will Give Your Money Back

Airborne

It's the one made by a teacher hide caption

itoggle caption

People in my family swore by Airborne's fizzy elixir. I found it nauseating, at least at first. And I can't say it ever saved me from a cold or kept a cold from being worse than it might have been.

What I can say is that we haven't got receipts from our purchases, which will make it at least little harder to cash in our share of Airborne's $23.3 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit over false claims. On our show today, David Schardt, a senior nutritionist with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, takes a closer look.

UPDATE: Turns out you can get refunded for up to six bottles without receipts. Directions here. I'll play an audio interview with more details Friday on the blog/show.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Airborne and its generic cousin, Wal-borne, has taken a sizable chunk out of my wallet over the past two years. Unfortunately, I never thought to save the receipts. Does this suit include Wal-borne as well?

Sent by Nathaniel Carroll | 11:20 AM | 3-6-2008

i not only have some receipts, but i have the upc code cut outs, they used to offer a free box with so many purches, can i use those as well ?

Sent by John Dattolo | 12:09 PM | 3-6-2008

I have two new containers of Airborne, but no receipts. Can they be used in place of the receipts?

Sent by Ginger Reynolds | 1:46 PM | 3-6-2008

I have receipts. How do I get my money back?

Sent by Liz | 3:42 PM | 3-6-2008

You can file a claim through this website,
http://snurl.com/214zs

Sent by Laura Conaway, NPR | 3:47 PM | 3-6-2008

Okay??? so people have been buying Airborne for 5 years and now you're looking for compensation just because of a couple of claims on the label and the advertising?

WHAT is wrong with people? IF you were buying it for 5 years then apparently it was doing something to keep you purchasing it.

Does the fact that there is a class action lawsuit change the fact that you were too big of an idiot to quit buying something that wasn't working for you? Or are you really that money hungry and need to be reimbursed for the 6 bottles you purchased (or say you purchased. You do not need proof of purchase to be refunded!). Maybe you just want to get a little something out of this?

Let's use a little common sense here.

My question is. ??? Are you looking to make a point and sock it to Airborne or did you just want everyone to know how stupid you were for purchasing a product for 5 years that wasn't working for you?

The fact is there is no money in it for the big name drug companies so they have to find a way to put a stop to something that works for some people. Maybe the drug companies that are worried about claims being made on labels should just work on products that solve the problem and not worry so much on how to make a bunch of money off of it. Keep in mind that there are PRESCRIPTION medications that don't work for everybody. IF it doesn't work for you, don't buy it. (especially for 5 years). I personally have been feeling a cold coming on and airborne has knocked it out numerous times.

Okay - that's all - and may opportunists like Schardt find that Karma is a bitch to deal with.

Sent by Cheryl Wideman | 5:30 PM | 3-6-2008

Another ATTACK on natural Safe products. 23 million dollars for making a false claim!! Come on, wake up to what is going on here, I have used Airborne to kick out a cold many times, so what even if it is a placebo effect it works either way. Placebos can work better than drugs in many cases and do not have negative effects, so what is the problem here?

Sent by katherine Schneider | 6:32 PM | 3-6-2008

In this interview, Schdart says"Take Vitamin C if you want to boost your immune system, Schardt says. That supplement has been examined extensively, in over 30 studies, with thousands of people all over the world."
If this is true according to Schardt, Airborne contains 1000mg of Vitamin C! So he has effectively endorsed Airborne for it's ability to boost your immune system as well as ward off colds. Ingreadient list found here...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_(dietary_supplement)#Supplement_facts_and_ingredients

Sent by Ann McGaffey | 6:42 PM | 3-6-2008

I don't know why but it works for me and I'll keep buying it. It has stopped colds before they got ugly for me and stopped ugly ones before they got worse...seriously - like in a day I feel better if I take it a couple of times as soon as I feel slightly sick

Sent by lisa skarzynski | 11:47 PM | 3-6-2008

didn't you read it? He said Vit. C does not help kicking the cold!!!

Sent by Ann Le | 1:46 AM | 3-7-2008

I will not be taking part in trying to get money back for my purchases of Airborne. I swear by this stuff.
With one child in school and one in daycare I used to get sick several times a year. Once I started taking airborne I have not been sick in 2 years. I let my oldest daughter take 1/2 a pill when she feels something coming on and she only missed 1 day of school this year.
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't Airborne contain 1000mg of Vitamin C.
I am always telling people around me who have a cold to try it and will continue to do so.

Sent by Christine DuBois | 8:25 AM | 3-7-2008

David Schardt is just trying to find ways to make money. This product is the epitome of the American Dream ??? a teacher starting a multi-million dollar business. Please stop HATING on her and the company. Obviously it WORKS!! Why would people keeping buying it. I have been using it for over 4 years and I work around the public. Once I feel a cold coming on Airborne ALWAYS prevents it from going full blast. David Schardt said to use Vit C well the product has 1,000 mg of it. People like him ABUSE the legal system he should be ASSHAMED of himself and because of this misfortune will follow his life!!!

Sent by Leesa Askew | 10:12 AM | 3-7-2008

THERE'S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE!
WASH YOUR HANDS, SNEEZE INTO YOUR SLEEVE, DON'T PICK YOUR NOSE OR TOUCH YOUR EYES. DRINK LOTS OF FLUIDS.
TAKE AIRBORNE IF YOU WANT TO, BUT, IT DOESN'T WORK!!!

Sent by RICK | 10:17 AM | 3-7-2008

walgreens also makes the same product perhaps that should also be looked into its called walborne if it hasn't

Sent by k hamilton | 10:41 AM | 3-7-2008

Hey Mr Schardt,
How much is the pharmacutical company paying you for your efforts in the law suits. We know they would rather have us hooked on cough syrups that get our kids high and hove no nutritional value what so ever...What's your cut???????

I've used airborne for years and it's worked. If it is a happy, placabo type pill then bring it one because it works

Sent by DB Williamstown, NJ | 11:07 AM | 3-7-2008

Did this author make any attempt to talk to Airborne, or their attorneys? If yes, why not tell us that they refused to comment?

Sent by Mr. Ams | 11:14 AM | 3-7-2008

I've never purchased Airborne, but I do take Vitamin C daily, using increased dosages when I feel the onset of a cold. Yes, it seems to help, but I'll continue to buy "plain ole store brand Vit C" and not throw money at a company that lies about its research and charges way too much.

Sent by Carol | 11:20 AM | 3-7-2008

I HAVE USED AIRBORNE FOR SEVERAL YEARS. I TURNED OUR SOUND ENGINEER ON TO IT BECAUSE HE WAS ALWAYS GETTING SICK, DUE TO BEING CLOSER TO THE AUDIENCE THAN THE BAND ON STAGE. AFTER HE STARTED USING IT BEFORE EACH GIG, HE HASN'T BEEN SICK FOR OVER A YEAR. AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE.

Sent by ANGELA JUSTUS | 12:07 PM | 3-7-2008

Oh, my, is this another frivolous lawsuit that might have been brought to us by the pharmaceutical companies? You know, those wonderful entities who also bring all those neat 'side effects' into our lives and ask us to "ask your doctor" - you know, the one who went to med school for all those years so he can field questions about . . . pharmaceuticals.

Has anyone else noticed that most over-the-counter cold products and essentially all prescribed medicine will potentially kill you? And that the harmless 'medicine' that actually helps us is illegal?

Sent by Sharon | 12:35 PM | 3-7-2008

I swear by Airborne and will continue to buy and recommend. It may work for some and not for others - its personal preference and results.

Schardt is another one jumping on the litigation freight train to make a name for himself. He's picking on an herbal supplment because the pharmaceutical companies are too tough to tackle. They charge hundreds/thousands of dollars for drugs that will save lives. They stick their hands in our pockets for drugs that we need to take and charge outrageous, and often unreasonable, amounts. It is our choice to buy, or not buy, OTC.

Airborne has my vote and on many occasions has kept the pharmaceutical companies out of my pocket and my absences at work to a minimum due to the not so common cold.

I hope Airborne remains on the market - possibly with some adjusted advertising to pacify Schardt and his cohorts. If not, sadly I'll be spending significantly more than the Airborne cost of $5-$8/tube on prescriptions once again.

Sent by B Wally | 12:49 PM | 3-7-2008

I just used Airborne for the first time this last weekend and guess what? It worked! I've taken just Vitamin C several times before the onset of a cold and it didn't work. It is the combination of vitamins that builds the immune system. I will continue to use it as directed, and no, I won't be looking for a refund from Airborne either.

Sent by Deborah | 12:59 PM | 3-7-2008

I never thought that Airborne was anything but a vitamin. I liked it because it dissolved in water and reminded me of Tang, which I drank when I was a kid. Anyone who thinks taking a vitamin is going to keep you from getting a cold is an idiot. However, taking a vitamin that helps make your immune system stronger to help you ward off a cold is believable. And I have to say, I felt like I was doing my body good when I drank the effervescent stuff. Does the guy that brought the suit really think that people only buy products because they think that it absolutely will do the job? I buy products because I think they MIGHT help, and I think the psychology involved for me buying this product is similar to most other consumers. What a jerk.

Sent by Judy | 1:03 PM | 3-7-2008

I always thought that Airborne was an absurd idea. Even more absurd was the attempt at legitimizing its claims by saying it was developed my a schoolteacher. Do you trust any drugs developed by someone not trained in pharmacology, ever? People should realize that supplements like these have the potential to do more harm than good when not regulated or tested. If it's not food or water, it's a drug!

Sent by Cindy | 1:54 PM | 3-7-2008

LETS FACE IT , YOUR BETTER OFF DRINKING GREEN TEA. AND TAKE A DAILY VITAMIN, EXERCISE AND GET PLENTY OF REST. ALL THESE GIMMICKS OUT HERE WILL DRIVE YOU NUTS!! ONLY GOD HAS THE ANSWER TO CURE ALL DISEASES.

Sent by JOHN DOE | 3:09 PM | 3-7-2008

Damn,

You mean my Corvette isn't going to help me score hot chicks.....

I feel so duped.

It is what it is. A bunch of secret herbs and spices that may or may not make you feel better. And it mixes really well with soda. Try it!!! : )

Sent by Gary | 3:24 PM | 3-7-2008

Cindy, I completely agree with you. I've consistently made fun of this product since they started the "Invented by a school teacher" campaign, as if that qualifies anyone to invent a health product. Does being a teacher give her profound insight into pharmacology, medicine, homeopathy, or biochemistry? Maybe if teachers focused on teaching the state of education in this country wouldn't be so grim.

Airborne is a product and an overpriced one at that. I think people buy it for the packaging (both the box, the illustrations, the claims, and even the vial and tablet format) as much as anything else. It costs 10x what you would pay for putting together high-quality supplements yourself.

I do take vitamin c in a soluble format, but I don't pay $1 tablet. I also wash my hands, get sleep, drink fluids, and avoid excessive alcohol and sugar. I don't get sick very often. Which of those factors is it? Probably all of them.

When America quits looking for a pill (proverbial or otherwise) as the answer to its problems, it will be a whole lot healthier.

Sent by JV | 3:47 PM | 3-7-2008

YOU PEOPLE, that are attempting to collect money back, for a product that did you some good, should be ASHAMED of yourselves.I know that times are tight, but come on. Like in a previous comment, how much is this guy getting for his bad mouthing of this product. I am appalled at the fact that some small minded and greedy people would do this, just because it is offered. What goes around, comes around. And I hope you get yours. For me, I would like to know if there is a way to get coupons, for future purchases, like buy three and get one Free? Thank you for a GREAT PRODUCT.

Sent by Mr. Paul/Normalisa Cardaropoli | 3:58 PM | 3-7-2008

Most herbal, or natural products are not put through a rigorous double blind study like prescription drugs. This does not mean that they are dangerous or do not help. I am an RN and would much rather use herbs or other homeopathic treatments than the poisons that pharmaceutical companies pass of as drugs. Yes, I take Airborne, and will continue to because it works and is not as harmful as most medications produced from chemicals.

Sent by Carolyn Larsen | 4:04 PM | 3-7-2008

I don't want my money back! It works for me, placebo effect or not and I will continue to use it!

Sent by nelda McLaughlin | 4:16 PM | 3-7-2008

All I can say is this - I've tried it twice and it did not prevent my colds/sinus infections. It may have decreased their severity. BUT, I really think you have to take it the absolute first minute you feel something coming on, and not one minute later. I have been able to kick out a sinus infection on a few rare occasions, but generally anything I've taken, natural or otherwise, has been a waste of money. I get maybe 4 sinus infections a year, and have tried vit C, zinc, echinacea, you name it. Usually you just have to ride the damn thing out.

Most effective method I've come across is the nasal saline wash, or neti pots. That can kill one off before it gets a foothold, but not always.

As for pharmaceutical companies, personally I think they're a bunch of greedy you-know-what's, but that's a whole other discussion.

Sent by Linda | 4:42 PM | 3-7-2008

I used to use only echinacea/golden seal & zinc. Once I was introduced to Airborne, immediately upon a cold onset, Airborne showed its capability. I've tried many 'natural' products and manufacturers. Why do I continue buying Air..? It does work. While the advertising could probably be critiqued and found over-zealous, I do wonder why this man attacks non-pharmeceuticals while pharmeceuticals are, and do, damage your health and body.... where's his real paycheck???

Sent by J~ | 5:08 PM | 3-7-2008

My grandmother wasn't a pharmacist, doctor, nurse or even a nutritionist. However, she had some of the best natural, home remedies to cure or lessen our ailments. We rarely needed to visit a doctor or get a prescription. If a teacher has found a combination of herbal and natural ingredients that have worked for her and others, what is the big freakin' deal???? If you do not want to try it - don't. If you have tried it and don't think it works - stop buying it. If you have tried it and you feel it works - keep taking it. This is a democracy, people. Enjoy the freedom of choice and allow others to enjoy theirs.

Sent by Debbie C. | 5:27 PM | 3-7-2008

I am a substitute teacher at an elementary school. During the month of December, there was sickness all over the school. I have a very weak immune system and I was so afraid I would get sick. Well, I started taking Airborne at the start of December and I am not a doctor but I did NOT get sick the entire time. Most of my family did and I still take the product when there is sickness. I am going to be very upset if the product is taken off the market. I have told everyone, I would have been in worse shape if I had not taken Airborne. I think this is just a quick way for people to make money.

Sent by Robbie | 6:31 PM | 3-7-2008

Maybe it's the placebo affect, but I always thought it worked. After reading this, I want to buy some and see if it helps ward off this year's bouts of colds. I think that it is interesting that so many people - myself included - can be convinced of something, sans personal research, and actually think that it works! I think this is "shady," for lack of a better word, but still... you have to commend the makers of products like these for banking on the sheep-like nature of most humans. Touche, Airborne...

Sent by Hope Atchison | 7:28 PM | 3-7-2008

Why all the resistance to holding a company to a reasonable standard of truth in advertising? If the product works for you, that's terrific - keep using it in good health.

But no product, regardless of who invented it or how delightful its packaging is, should be allowed to go unchecked in making health claims it can't back up with scientific evidence. Scientists have used clinical trials for several hundred years. It's not some new concept invented by big pharma to shut down the little guy.

I'm not familiar with Mr. Schardt, but the Center for Science in the Public Interest has done quite a bit of work to prevent industry, specifically the pharmaceutical industry in some cases, from having undue influence on health policy. They would seem to be far from industry shills.

I realize these are just blog comments that can be tossed off in a moment, but it's irresponsible to suggest that the guy is a big pharma agent in disguise without offering any support for the implication. Kinda like claiming that a product can cure a cold without any proof.

Sent by Maura | 8:02 PM | 3-7-2008

It has been a few years since I have not gotten sick with a cold. Everyone that I know that is not taking Airborne has gotten a cold. Airborne is for real.
You can keep the money, it is worth it.

Sent by Robert | 9:24 PM | 3-7-2008

what about the marketing machine behind "probiotic" yogourts? there is absolutely no indication that these products produce the results that their marketing campaigns claim they do - and they sell at a significant premium to their standard competition... it's disgraceful.

Sent by "fed" up | 9:27 PM | 3-7-2008

I met a divisional sales manager from Airborne at a trade show and asked him if he had any studies to show whether the product... he got huffy and cut me off "we have $250 million of annual sales to people and 80% of them repurchase the product, so it works for them and that's all the studies we need." What a BS answer. Unfortunately this won't even cost their company 10% of one year's revenue and certainly won't stop them from perpetrating this fraud for years to come. Give the people what they want! It's like the Barnum & Bailey of consumer products.

Sent by Industry Member | 9:31 PM | 3-7-2008

ON the back it says "DO NOT TAKE IF PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING" -- I called the manufacturer to see why, the office connected me with their medical expert, who told me he had no idea -- and didn't exactly work for Airborne, he got paid to consult for them! Try it and you'll see.

Sent by Levi | 9:37 PM | 3-7-2008

I have been taking Airborne for years. It has helped me and my children (who are adults now and continue to take it when need be). It is a good product and regardless of what the box says, it brings relief to us!

Sent by Karen O'Neil | 9:57 PM | 3-7-2008

What indignation! How dare anyone question a company that sells products designed to enrich our lives? The silent Airborne advocates have arisen, causing me to ask: where did you people suddenly come from? Are you Airborne employees and/or their moms? (couldn't hurt to check the IP logs...)

Why is everyone dodging the truth in advertising issue and defending so vigorously a company that put forward unsubstantiated health claims? Airborne may work great for YOU, but until they prove it and the results can be reproduced, they should not advertise it.

Sent by JV | 2:10 AM | 3-8-2008

I've never used Airborne because it contains an artificial sweetener, sucralose. I am alway wary of health products that have artificial ingredients. Sucralose gives me awful migraines, and I don't suffer from migraines. Any product that uses sucralose (aka Splenda) is on my banned items list!

Sent by Rachel | 9:42 AM | 3-8-2008

I won't be without it. I usually got one or two colds a season. For the past three years when I feel the symptoms of the "pre-cold" I start taking it along with Ester Vitamin C and I don't get the cold. I sense the cold "travelling" its course in the minutest way, but I don't come down with one. The Ester Vitamin C alone had never done it for me. I will continue to use it because it helps. I can't the the only one who has been helped by it.

Sent by Joan Wallace | 12:00 PM | 3-8-2008

I do believe many of the supplements contained within Airborne have been proven, by unrelated studies, to do precisely as advertised. I don't see why the company would need to do yet another study because their product combines all of these individually proven ingredients together. As with Vitamin C (which was mentioned in the article). it's been shown to assist in boosting immune system capabilities. Since ther eis a large amount of Vitamin C in the product.... then shouldn't they be able to advertise that it helps cure a cold?

Sent by got linked here | 6:23 PM | 3-8-2008

These "natural remedy" companies make unfounded claims and their herbal supplements are held to little-to-no FDA standards. Falsified claims about drugs are unacceptable and should not be tolerated, even if the case of the common cold.

Airborne's marketing stratergy is just as wrong as the big pharma example of Merck's Vytorin (yet another company that should be held accountable for claims known to be false--a whole other can of worms) and neither one of them should be able to get away with it.

Personally, I've used it, not sure if it helped or not, but I'm filing my claim on the principles noted above. However, in an effort to avoid the karma boomerang that's been thrown around in previous notes, I'm donating it to NPR, without whom I'd have never know about any such refund (I LOVE YOU GUYS!)

Sent by avg joe | 10:16 PM | 3-8-2008

Every yearend, like clockwork, I too get sick during the holidays. This past year I took Airborne when everyone at work around me started getting sick. Over a 3 month period people around me had colds, many of them calling off sick for a few days. I used the product evey other week for maybe for 2 or 3 days (only when I started getting an itchy throat or sneezing periodically). In that 3 month period, I still picked up a mild case of the sniffles. Mainly I was able to work comfortably instead of having to call off sick for bedrest. This was the first time I didn't call off from work during that period in over 10 years!

If you don't believe in this product, don't buy it. If you are lucky, your job probably doesn't have a strict policy on sick calls so you can stay home and get all the bedrest you need when you do catch a cold.

Sent by DMLB | 6:47 PM | 3-9-2008

I have a lot of trouble with colds in the winter and this is the first winter that I have not had a cold so far this year. The minute I feel that I am getting a sore throat or stuffy nose I start taking airborne. The next morning I am feeling good and have no symptoms. This has been the only produce that has worked and I will keep taking it, like it says to. thank you

Sent by Carol Albrecht | 9:02 PM | 3-9-2008

Shame on all of you seeking a refund!I and my family have been using it for a long while with astounding results. Like any other medication or remedy it doesn't work every time for everyone! But it does do a lot of good!Everyone in America seeking a refund will put a good company out of business, and what will we do without our airborne? Thanks a lot!!!

Sent by Alyssa | 5:50 PM | 3-14-2008

I work in the service industry, thus I am often in contact with sick people. I take Airborne everytime I feel a cold or flu symptoms starting or when I am around sick people. I always experience success at maintaining my health and avoiding getting sick. When my coworkers are out days at a time with a severe cold or the flu.....I just keep on trucking along.

Sent by Peggy Clark | 1:10 AM | 3-17-2008

It works no question about it. My coworkers use it, my family uses it. I will keep taking it. It works!

Sent by Evette Oister | 9:42 AM | 3-21-2008

I truly believe in airborne because I had a sore throat and I took airborne and did not get worse like I usually do. Also someone worte earlier that thses big drug companies are not making any money because of airborne(not an actual quote), I beliave that to. I mean it's like the egg...years ago the egg was sooo bad for you because of all the chloresterol(sp?) and now the egg is soo0 good for you because of all the protien. I guess people weren't buying enough eggs.
So my point is too many people are buying airborne and not enough other drugs so "airborne is baaaaad".

Sent by Frances | 9:26 PM | 3-21-2008

Everyone I know gets at least a couple colds a year---except me. I've kept the tablets and lozenges handy for years and don't intend to stop now. Who cares about clinical studies if you already know something (with no side effects) works for you?

Sent by E. B. | 4:11 PM | 3-24-2008

What if I still have theproduct in the box, unopened? Do you want it back for a refund??

Sent by Julie Spreck | 4:50 PM | 3-24-2008

This lawsuit is shameful and immoral. The real efforts to find justice in truth in advertising should be directed towards the Pharmaceutical industry and all those within the FDA. We'll see this in time no doubt. Meanwhile, a perfectly excellent product is being maligned because of someone's career goals. Get real people. This lawsuit is a travesty.

Sent by Calypso | 1:34 AM | 3-27-2008

this stuff is the best, all my colds have been knocked down right away when i take this,but wheni dont my colds are bad, so i as well as all my family will keep buying this and taking it. go airborne

Sent by chris | 11:16 AM | 3-27-2008

It's hilarious how many people believe that a simple vitamin could cure the common cold. It's a classic example of the placebo effect, that or what psychology calls selective recall: People only remember cases when they took Airborne and didn't get a cold and forget the times when they did. Anyone who is educated beyond the level of middle school should be able to reason and realize such a product has been deceiving them. It doesn't prevent colds, your immune system does that. Just like any vitamin it aids your immune system (not beyond its normal healthy capacities), and charges 10-20 times more for the same simple vitamin. I've taken airborne, it's nothing special. But people are persistent in upholding the dream and belief that a convenient pill made by an "innocent" school teacher can cure mankind's most persistent disease - the common cold. There is no cure, and most likely never will be. Also, demand does not mean something works, there are plenty of failures in the drug industry that people previously religiously swore worked...they didn't...most were harmful. Last thing, people should check with their doctors to see if they have allergies, the symptoms disappearing within a day matches that diagnosis. I have allergies, some days I'm sick other days completely healthy without medications or vitamins at all. Anyways, get smart people its no magic pill but rather a magic trick that's been exposed. Airborne should be held accountable.

Sent by Chris, Dartmouth Student | 12:58 PM | 3-28-2008

I don't care a whit about this suit. I have used the product three times and was it a miracle cure? No. Did it keep my colds from being as bad? You bet it did. I, too, was skeptical, but thought why not try it. I did and I was VERY pleased.

Sent by Cynthia | 5:09 PM | 4-1-2008

I had my whole family use Airborne since it first came out. We bought it at Coscos at the largest size. We took it on the plane as we traveled hopeing it would keep us from getting sick. We have used it from the beginning.

Albert, Sandy and Andy Wutsch

Sent by Albert & Sandra Wutsch | 11:56 AM | 4-6-2008

I'm impressed at how strong some of the emotions seem to be surrounding this issue. Several comments mention karma, and cast implicit or explicit imprecations or hexes at David Schardt, or even anyone who considers claiming a refund. One comment states that "this lawsuit is shameful and immoral." Is this because of our distrust for lawyers, or sense that greed may be masquerading behind the very claim that a company is being greedy by cutting corners in marketing and product research?

There are certainly (as far as I know) mega companies in the herbal supplements market, which is separate from big pharma but involves similar tactics. Has Knight-McDowell labs managed to become a profitable player in the field by avoiding either image? Should they be held (monetarily) responsible for their success? Or for claims that they subsequently altered? (It isn't clear to me from the article whether it is the fact that they used to claim that Airborne prevents colds is the driving force behind the class action suit, or if the "boosts immune systems" claim is enough - after all, lots of herbal supplements make similar claims.) Is Victoria Knight-McDowell still a schoolteacher?

The question of whether she was one or not clearly does matter, because that's one of the points of the advertising claim; if someone feels misled, though, and feels that Airborne didn't help them, shouldn't they have a right to redress, or at least a refund? I don't know the answer to that. On the other hand, if it turned out that there were side effects, or if the list of ingredients were revealed to be not accurate, that would presumably change the equation. Relating this to past history of homemade remedies and such (remember the doc in the Wizard of Oz) would be interesting, both concerning how people tend to want to trust and defend the little guy and to consider how many of those little guys were (or weren't) frauds.

Full disclosure, etc., I have purchased and consumed Airborne on slightly more than several occasions. It's of course impossible for me to say definitively whether it actually worked - I've avoided colds in the past with lots of water, sleep, and washing hands. Still, the schoolteacher campaign, and even the effervescent form (gimic or not?) have made me want to believe in it. I'm troubled, though, anytime someone is led to ask "...what will we do without our airborne?" as one person commented, and most others seemed to imply they felt. I've tried to not rely on tylenol or similar OTC medicataion, often successfully, and I've done fine without them - sometimes. How much of it, though, is a question of luck (who is around me), or how well I keep to washing my hands, etc.? Will we ever be able to tell?

Sent by Josh (Boston) | 3:05 PM | 4-9-2008

You know, just because they falsely advertised and made people think they could 'cure' the common cold doesn't mean the stuff doesn't work at all. It still has crap in it that does in fact, boost your immune system. Only an idiot would think it can cure a cold anyway...so people who fell for that are idiots. My god...there is no cure for the common cold and everyone knows that. I use airborne once in a great while during the winter months. Before I started using it I used to get sick all the time during the winter and fall, I don't get sick as often anymore.

And just for your information...I've been given many sugar pills in my day and the placebo effect has never worked on me.

Even if all I'm getting out of airborne is a placebo, it's better than nothing, it gives people hope...and it isn't like the people who pay for airborne have anything better to spend their money on.

How about instead of buying something for yourself with the money you save by not buying airborne anymore...do something good for someone else.

You're all pretty selfish and stupid...airborne exists because it is a natural alternative for people who don't want to pump themselves full of man made chemicals. Get over yourselves...the company said they would refund the purchase price to people who could prove they bought it. I'm not going to stop buying it, nor am I going to ask for my money back.

It works fine as far as I can tell...because it is a supplement...not a medication. Only dumb people think something made of vitamins and herbs is a medication that will cure anything.

It isn't Airborne's fault that they happen to have a lot of idiots for customers.

I've never read anywhere that the product actually says the words 'will cure the common cold'...so I'm pretty sure they didn't say it...but if they did...they're paying for it so leave them alone.

Sent by Justine | 2:37 PM | 4-11-2008

Does it surprise anyone there was a lawsuit over Airborne? This is a sue, sue, sue country. I myself will keep buying Airborne cause I do think it makes me feel better, and trust me, I don't put ANYTHING into my system if I don't feel that is is beneficial and/or makes me feel better. Even if I just am feeling tired and worn down, if I take this, I feel 'perkier'. Everyone has differences of opinion on every product on the market. It's just too bad that you can get sued because of it.

Sent by Maggie L | 11:10 AM | 4-15-2008

I have requested a refund several months ago. Please provide me with a update status of my request.

Sent by Robin Cross | 4:29 PM | 4-16-2008

I have been using Airborne for the past 3 years now and have only come down with ONE COLD and I credit that one to not starting the Airborne soon enough.
I LOVE the product!!!!! IT WORKS FOR ME.
I certainly hope that because of some money grubbing people, that have a lawyer friend, decide to sue, that the makers of Airborne do not stop making it.
My co-workers all laugh at me because I'm always taking my Airborne (someone is always sick at work), but I say to them, "Go ahead and laugh, but look around, who's sick and who's not???
THANK YOU AIRBORNE!!!

Sent by Joan Bryant | 8:10 PM | 4-17-2008

Many years ago I was diagnosed with epstein barr and following that started having very low white cell blood counts. I saw a hematologist for several months and after extensive testing with the result of "etiology unknown" he referred me to an oncologist. After several years I quit going to my oncologist armed with the knowledge that my immune system was always going to be fragile.

I eat properly, exercise, and WASH MY HANDS REPEATEDLY, but when I am stressed out for a while I tend to get sick.

Last winter I was with a loved one for the last two weeks of his life, ultimately sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor by his hospital bed, in a hospice wing at the hospital.

Before I flew up to be with him I started taking Airborne, and I'm very grateful that I did not read any of this stuff before or I might not have taken it.

I prefer it to antibiotics or feeling lousy, so you can bet that I will be taking Airborne again!

Sent by Melinda | 11:11 AM | 4-21-2008

Personally, I know Airborne works! They can say what they want. Just like the over the counter pain pill "Orudus" it was the best on the market. It would stop severe pain very quickly and lasted. Well guess what? They took it off the market. Well, here is another one that they are going to try to discourage people from taking. Airborne works! They can say what they want. If you want to feel better then get Airborne today and keep taking it. My sinus is much better today and my energy level is also much much better. Thank you Airborne. Also at Brookshire's they carry their brand as well and it works wonderful as well. I am a firm believer in Airborne, not a mind thing like they try to make it sound like, it's not I promise. Take it and feel better.

Sent by Ronald McMillan | 10:05 AM | 5-7-2008

What a natural phenomenon in today's litigious American society. Litigation after litigation and indication excessive greed now coming to the fold! My wife has used Airborne since its introduction on the market and swears by it. Not only does she use is but she recommends to friends or those who ask her what she takes for colds. We also have friends overseas in Europe and the Far East who frequently ask her to purchase Airborne because they rid a cold quite rapidly. I agree with a previous writer that users who purchase the product over 5 years and now want money refunded must be desparate or living far below the poverty line. That product is produced not too far from my home and I notice on many occasions that stores carrying airborne at times must reorder because non available within the store. Lets get real folks!

Sent by Adam West | 9:36 PM | 5-8-2008

Just because a scientist says that they have no evidence to back them up, doesn't mean that he's right. Scientists don't believe anything that doesn't have major evidence. They're just like that. They should just get over it it already. I love airborne and it makes me feel better! Do I need any other evidence besides that to buy it? I don't think so!

Sent by Caroline D | 10:52 AM | 5-19-2008

Laura, right after the podcast regarding Airborn you went to a story about a person who had a comic book collection of over 40k and then gave them away. Because I was listening via a podcast i couldn't hear that story and would like to. Can you help me?

Sent by Alan Ault | 2:42 PM | 6-8-2008

@Alan -- That comics segment is here. Those guys were great.
http://snurl.com/2emef

Sent by Laura Conaway, NPR | 9:03 PM | 6-8-2008