Airborne pays $7 mln in settlement with 32 states

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Airborne Health Inc has agreed to pay $7 million to settle investigations by 32 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia over the past marketing and labeling of its products.

Airborne did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement. It previously settled two matters involving similar claims.

The privately held company makes popular dietary supplements with vitamins, minerals and herbs that it says help support the immune system.

“We’re putting the dietary supplement industry on notice — snake oil sales pitches will no longer be given free reign,” Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement. “Our strong coalition of states will continue to investigate and pursue companies that make false claims about dietary supplements and other products.”

The agreement will not impact Airborne’s products “because it deals with language that had already been dropped from our advertising and labeling,” Airborne Founder and Chief Executive Victoria Knight-McDowell said in a statement.

“Even though we believe the legal claims against Airborne were unjustified, we wanted to close the book on these legal and regulatory issues.”

According to Blumenthal, Airborne agreed to certain prohibitions against making claims over the benefits of its products. The company also may not demand where a retailer puts its products in stores, he said.

Blumenthal also said Airborne agreed not to market a product with directions that would result in a person ingesting 15,000 International Units of Vitamin A or more per day.

Airborne previously reached a $23.5 million settlement of a class action lawsuit and a $6.5 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The company said the FTC settlement funds would be paid only if the class action settlement does not cover all consumer claims submitted by September 18.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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