The Inc. 500 firm will reimburse consumers who bought its pills to prevent colds.
Airborne Health, a Bonita Springs, Fla.-based herbal supplements firm, has agreed to pay $23.3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought against the company for falsely claiming its vitamins prevented colds.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit advocacy group that led the lawsuit, there is no credible evidence that Airborne prevents colds or protects consumers from germs.
"Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that's been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed," David Schardt, the group's senior nutritionist, said in a statement.
Airborne, which ranked No. 149 on last year's Inc 500 list, says its pills "boost the immune system with seven herbal extracts and a proprietary blend of vitamins, electrolytes, amino acids and antioxidants." It has admitted no wrongdoing or illegal conduct in the settlement.