Emergen-C is a scam


Alex Mazzaferro, staff columnist

Most scams are easy to spot, but the ones you need to look out for are the ones that you reach for when you need help.

When I get a fever and no one is around to make me soup and take care of me, I go to the pharmacy and stock up.

Ibuprofen? Got to have it. Also, use the generic name and you sound like a doctor four years short of a degree.

DayQuil? You bet.  

NyQuil? If it’s good enough for Drew Brees, it’s good enough for me.

Tissues? A grown man can’t act tough with a case of the sniffles.

Emergen-C? If I want to take a hit of 1667% of my daily recommended amount of vitamin C so that my body can send white blood cells to super soak some germs in tangerine colored fizz, I definitely won’t forget it.

The thing is, I take enough Emergen-C when I’m not sick to avoid trips to the pharmacy and the human-chop-shop Student Health Center.

Taking as much Emergen-C as I do, I would be able to put myself in the top .01% of immune systems in the U.S. If immune system strength were a factor in attractiveness, I’d bump five points from Charlie Sheen to Michelangelo’s David.  

However, I got sick this week. Emergen-C took me for a ride and put a knife in my back.  

As a slave to marketing, did I just buy a well-advertised product that doesn’t truly offer the health benefits it promises? But who could possibly benefit from a dud product that promises health other than doctors?

We often hear conspiracies about Big Pharma and the greed of doctors and pharmaceutical companies who want to make money rather than actually helping people. According to medicalnewstoday.com, the term an “apple a day keeps the doctor away” actually originated in Wales as “eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”

I’m going to put myself into the shoes of a greedy doctor. First off the bat, I would be pissed. I want my bread. I would hate apples more than anything. What can I do to take down the big apple industry? I might ask what the opposite of an apple is. You can’t compare apples and oranges, can you?

So on that, I start a hokey business that makes orange powder that doesn’t do anything. I sit back, sell my snake oil to suckers for $10.99 and watch as they continue to sickly crawl into my office.  

After a few years, people start to notice what’s going on, and they realize the product doesn’t work. They’ve been megadosing vitamin C and megalosing money and time.

In 2013, a class action lawsuit was filed against Alacer Corporation, the company that owned the rights to Emergen-C. The complaint alleged the company made claims that Emergen-C could reduce the risk of cold and flu without any scientific evidence. The company settled out of court to give customers with proof of purchase a refund of up to $36.

Stop spending your (or your parent’s) hard-earned money on Emergen-C. Donate the money to a politician or something equally useless.