HEALTH

Airborne to pay $23.3 million over false advertising claims

BY Adam Kraemer

NEW YORK Airborne, the herbal supplement company that once called itself a “miracle cold buster,” will pay $23.3 million to settle a class action lawsuit over false advertising, according to published reports.

Legal battles beginning in 2006 called into question the product’s claims to be able to stop the common cold. A February 2006 investigation by ABC’s “Good Morning America” found that Airborne’s clinical trial was conducted by just two people in the absence of a clinic or scientists.

Airborne changed their advertising campaign when a plaintiff filed suit against the company in March 2006. The company now claims that its product “boosts the immune system with seven herbal extracts and a proprietary blend of vitamins, electrolytes, amino acids and antioxidants.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit advocacy group and co-counsel for the class action, said the company will refund money to consumers who bought Airborne’s product. It will pay for advertisements in major publications instructing consumers on how to get their money refunded.

“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. “Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that’s been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed.”

A recorded message at the toll-free number of the class-action settlement administrator currently reports that Airborne Health Inc. has admitted no wrongdoing. “Defendants deny any wrongdoing or illegal conduct,” the message says, “but have agreed to settle the litigation.”

According to the settlement agreement, consumers with valid claims and receipts will be reimbursed for the amount they spent on Airborne from May 2001 through November 2007. Those without receipts are eligible to receive money back for as many as six packages each, based on average retail prices of the products—from $2.75 per box of gummi lozenges to $10.50 per box for Airborne Seasonal.

A hearing to consider final approval of the settlement is scheduled for June 16. Customers interested in more information about how to receive a refund can visit www.airbornehealthsettlement.com or call 1-888-952-9080.

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GSK survey finds smokers uninformed about treatments for quitting

BY Michael Johnsen

PORTLAND, Ore. A new GlaxoSmithKline survey presented before the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco on Saturday revealed that smokers’ misperceptions about cessation treatments may prevent them from attempting to quit smoking.

The study’s findings indicate smokers dramatically underestimate the safety and efficacy of nicotine replacement therapy products for quitting smoking, which may lead to less use of proven smoking cessation therapy.

Three of every four smokers wrongly believe or do not know whether NRT is more addictive than cigarettes. Additionally, 68 percent of smokers wrongly answered or do not know whether NRT products are as dangerous as cigarettes. Less than 3 percent of respondents answered all questions about treatment correctly, demonstrating the need for further education.

The findings were based on a study of 900 men and women adult smokers in the U.S. that was fielded in July 2007 by Richard Day Research through an online panel, screening for adults age 18 and over who smoke cigarettes every day. The “average” respondent in the survey was 48 years of age and started smoking when they were 16 years old, smoked 20 cigarettes per day and has tried to quit three times in the past (16 percent of respondents have never tried to quit). The survey was conducted on behalf of The American Legacy Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.

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FDA releases draft guidance on diabetes care and prevention

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is making a new draft guidance available for the pharmaceutical industry called, “Diabetes Mellitus: Developing Drugs and Therapeutic Biologics for Treatment and Prevention.”

Draft guidances provide recommendations for developing drugs and therapeutic biologics. Because the FDA recognizes the scope of the diabetes mellitus problem, the agency has recognized the need for new products that can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment strategy in the treatment and prevention of diabetes.

According to the FDA, the draft guidance provides recommendations on the following topics related to the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus:

  • Diabetes-specific preclinical studies;
  • Different study designs in different phases of drug development for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Study population considerations in different phases of development;
  • Specific statistical issues related to development of drugs and biologics intended for the treatment of diabetes.

In addition to the draft guidance, FDA plans to convene a public advisory committee meeting to discuss new approaches for the development of products for the treatment of diabetes.

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