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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357

Attorney General Gansler Reaches Settlement with Airborne
Company Agrees to Stop Making Unsubstantiated Claims

BALTIMORE, MD (December 16, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division, along with consumer protection agencies from 27 other states and the District of Columbia, entered into an Agreed Final Judgment with Airborne Health, Inc. and Airborne Holdings, Inc., and the owners of both companies, Victoria Knight-McDowell and Thomas John McDowell, regarding their marketing of “Airborne” products. The companies’ original Airborne product is one of the most commonly sold cough and cold products by major retailers in the last two years. Under the settlement, the companies and their owners did not admit any wrongdoing. The Attorney General alleges that the companies and their owners made claims Airborne could prevent or diminish colds and otherwise fights germs that have not been scientifically proven.

“Companies cannot make claims about health products unless they have credible scientific evidence that proves the claims to be true,” said Attorney General Gansler. “In this case, Airborne’s claims that its products could prevent colds or otherwise fight germs were unproven and misleading.”

Under Maryland law, health claims in advertisements must be substantiated with adequate well controlled studies. In a Complaint filed with the Final Judgment, the Office of the Attorney General alleged that Airborne claimed its products were a cold prevention remedy, a sore throat remedy, a germ fighter, and an allergy remedy, but did not have adequate well-controlled studies that proved these claims. Among other things, the settlement the Attorney General reached with the companies and their owners prohibit them from:

  • making health-related claims unless the claims can be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence;”
  • influencing the placement of their products into the “cough/cold” aisle of retailers; and,
  • recommending usage of their product at levels that could be potentially harmful.

The Complaint and Final Judgment were filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City earlier today.



Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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