Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cold "remedies"

I had an argument with someone at work the other day. She and I were both just getting over colds. She was telling me how much this Airborne stuff works. I told her that there is absolutely no scientific evidence that it did diddly-squat. She told me that she didn't care. She thinks it works and that’s all that matters. I pointed out that both she AND her husband have colds at the moment, exactly did it work? She said, "Oh, we must have taken it too late." Riiiiiight. Maybe you have colds because IT DOESN’T WORK!

Another coworker takes it because his wife makes him. His wife's logic (or lack thereof) is that she is a teacher and Airborne was created by a teacher so it must work. Riiiiiight. If these so-called cold remedies actually did something (significantly shorten or prevent the common cold, for instance) wouldn't doctors be singing their praises, and doling them out like candy? They would be handed out along with your flu shot. They would be given out in hospital emergency rooms.

ABC News did a story on Airborne in February of 2006.

According to the story, Airborne conducted its own clinical study that showed it was effective in preventing colds. ABC News learned that there were no scientists, no doctors, and no actual clinic involved in the study, and yet Airborne insists the results are valid.

The company removed all references to the study from its website and packaging, but not because of the bad publicity. "We found that it confused consumers," Elise Donahue, Airborne's CEO said. "Consumers are really not scientifically minded enough to be able to understand a clinical study." How nice of her. Translation: She thinks consumers are pretty stupid, but she’s looking out for us. The reality was that her one “study” that "showed it works" was done by a couple of local yokels, at least one of whom apparently lied about having a college degree. I think that consumers can easily understand FRAUD.

As Dr. Dean Edell always says, people believe that the last thing they did or took was was what made them better, but they were most likely just getting better anyway. The body will do that. If you want to reduce your chances of getting a cold, washing your hands frequently is far more effective, and not nearly as expensive.

Airborne contains among other things, Vitamin C, Echinacea, and zinc.
Next up: Vitamin C


Kia said...

How about your take on "Head-On...Apply directly to the forehead!"

Laurie said...

Never heard of it. Is the main objective to repeatedly hit your head against the wall until you lose consciousness?

Kia said...

You've missed a great marketing campaign. The original TV commercials were quite annoying by repeating the catch phrase over and over. Then came the ads with the testimonials about how great the product was. It was shown later by an independent study group (I forget who) that the product had NO active ingredients, but was basically paraffin wax.

Anonymous said...

Just as bad as that homeopathic crap that doesnt work. its so diluted that a baby can eat a whole bottle and be fine. that should tell you something. rip off artists. and soooo many moms buy into it!