Remember Airborne, the sham cold remedy whose manufacturer settled to cough up $37 million dollars last year because of that whole not working thing?
While the company admitted no wrongdoing, under the settlement, Airborne Health Inc. will discontinue any claims about the “health benefit, performance, efficacy or safety” of its supplements in preventing and treating colds and other ailments.
Well, now there’s a new Airborne falling out of the sky, Germ Defense. Germ Defense is another natural cold “remedy” like Airborne (and right next to it on the shelves) sold at Rite Aid, which now must pay $500,000 in refunds to customers who bought this product that doesn’t actually do anything. . . unless we change the definition of “anything” to include nothing.
The manufacturer of Germ Defense, Improvita, has also been charged with false advertising. If you bought Germ Defense tablets or lozenges, you’re eligible for a refund of the value of up to six packages of the supplement. From the FTC’s press release:
Like Airborne Health, Inc., which settled deceptive advertising charges with the FTC last
year for marketing its effervescent tablets as a cold prevention and treatment remedy, Rite Aid will settle similar charges for selling a purported cold-and-flu remedy under its private label. Rite Aid will pay $500,000 for consumer redress under the agreed-upon final order. The company is required to post a refund notice, along with postage-pre-paid refund request forms, in a clear and conspicuous location in the cold-and-flu aisle at each of its stores for 60 days beginning on October 1, 2009. Consumers will have until December 31, 2009 to submit refund requests for up to six packages of Germ Defense.
Also under the settlement agreement, Rite Aid may not claim that any Rite-Aid-label version of Airborne, or any Rite-Aid-label food, drug, or dietary supplement can reduce the risk of or prevent colds or flu, reduce the severity or duration of colds, or boost the immune system unless the claims are truthful, not misleading, and substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
Rite Aid and Improvita marketed several flavors of Germ Defense lozenges and tablets as
dietary supplements that contained vitamins C and E, zinc, and echinacea. They claimed the products could reduce the risk of or prevent colds and flu; protect against or fight germs; reduce the severity or duration of a cold; protect against colds and flu in crowded places; and boost the immune system, according to the complaints. The FTC charged that there is inadequate evidence to support these claims.
Once again though, the government is failing to really do its job. Ultimately this product is still going to be on shelves with only slightly different wording on the same shelf by the REAL cold medicine. The packaging will say some vague bullshit instead that can’t be legally fought like “Promotes healing” or “Improves immune system,” etc. So other than taking a little cash from them, these assholes will continue to sell their nonsense to those who assume their pharmacy isn’t selling them junk and who won’t have any idea that it doesn’t work.
It blows my mind that the federal government time and time again refuses to take any real action and shut down these criminal operations.