Airborne, a supposed cold remedy, has agreed to settle false advertising claims based on egregious misrepresentations:
An Airborne ad testimonial called it a "miracle cold buster" and a company press release boasted it would: "Get rid of most colds in one hour."
Airborne CEO Elise Donohue said it's product supports your immune system and offered the following evidence, "We have a clinical study. A double-blind placebo-controlled study."
When reporters went to the Florida address of the company that conducted the study, a woman answered the door and to the response of "Do you conduct clinical trials here," she said, "Oh, you gotta be kidding me."
Turns out the study was a two man operation started up just to do the Airborne study. One of the men claimed to have a degree from Indiana University, but the school said he never graduated.
Press release from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which worked on the case.
Separately, the FDA has sent warning letters to companies selling alleged STD treatments. The products falsely claim FDA approval and greater effectiveness than standard treatments.
Somehow, I think the multimillion-dollar settlement will be more of a deterrent—especially to imitators—than a warning letter. Supporters of federal preemption of drug-related false advertising claims need to explain how an overwhelmed FTC and FDA can protect consumers on their own.