More Great Placebos: Airborne

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Airborne PlaceboIt was “created by a school teacher.” You know – someone who is constantly exposed to those vectors of virus and disease known as children.

So surely a teacher could devise something that big Pharma could not. A cure for the common cold.

Concocted by second-grade teacher Victoria Knight McDowell and her screenwriter husband Thomas Rider McDowell, Airborne promised to “boost your immune system to help your body combat germs” and instructed users to “take it at the first sign of a cold symptom or before entering crowded, potentially germ-infested environments.”

Problem is, it doesn’t work. Well other than the hype around it which has been an excellent placebo. I’ve heard personal testimony that “this is the only thing that really works when I’m coming down with something.” What’s great about this kind of cure is that if it doesn’t work the reason is always “I took it too late.” Not that the the stuff is mostly sugar.

But the party is over. Airborne Agrees to Pay $23.3 Million to Settle Lawsuit Over False Advertising of its “Miracle Cold Buster.”

“There’s no credible evidence that what’s in Airborne can prevent colds or protect you from a germy environment,” said CSPI senior nutritionist David Schardt, who reviewed Airborne’s claims. “Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that’s been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed.”