The Florida-based maker of a top selling product in the cold and cough aisle of major retailers has agreed to alter its marketing practices in Iowa and 31 other states. Iowa Attorney General’s office spokesperson Bob Brammer says the states believe the makers of Airborne made unsubstantiated health-related claims about it’s products.
Brammer says Airborne claimed to sell products that could prevent colds, cure coughing and treat systems of the flu. According to the company’s website, Airborne products were created by a former second-grade teacher – whose "motivation to find the formula was triggered by her exposure to germy students."
That marketing effort helped Airborne reach annual revenues of more than 150-million dollars. Then, in 2006, a national television report challenged the validity of Airborne’s claims about its products. Brammer says that’s when the states stepped in and asked for proof. "(Airborne) had very little to go on and, as one of the state memos put it, they were not very persuasive,’" Brammer said of the company’s defense.
Since Iowa was not one of the primary states to lead the lawsuit, Brammer says Iowa will not be part of the financial settlement. He says the case should serve as a reminder to consumers. "Take claims with a grain of salt," Brammer suggests, "there are a lot of things being pushed in our country and people should question their claims. Probably the best thing to do is to go to your doctor and ask them."