Cold-FX is one of the most popular cold remedies in Canada. Afexa Life Solutions, the developer of Cold-Fx, has long-claimed that Cold-Fx provides instant cold-relief in its marketing and promotional material. However, a CBC Marketplace investigation suggests that the claims of immediate relief are not supported by scientific research.
CBC told the nation that there is no scientific basis for Afexa’s claim. Also, Health Canada has advised the public that it did not give Afexa the right to make such a claim. Similar statements assertions were made by reporter David Baines of the Vancouver Sun five years ago.
Health Canada spokesman Alastair Sinclair made an announcement in 2008 that Afexa would need to change its labels to be compliant with their licensing agreement. However, Afexa has continued to claim that Cold-Fx provides instant relief for patients suffering from the flu or cold symptoms.
Dr. Andreas Laupacis conducts clinical trials at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Laupacis has stated that he has seen no studies or claims that show that Cold-Fx provides instant cold relief for users. The only available studies have evaluated individuals that have taken Cold-Fx every day over the course of six months.
“There’s no such evidence” that Cold-Fx will “stop colds and flu in their tracks.”
Valeant, an American Pharmaceutical company, has recently purchased Cold-Fx from Afexa. Valeant has notified Health Canada that it is working to change the labeling so that it is compliance with licensing requirements.
In addition, Cold-Fx faces another challenge. In 2008, a liquid version of Cold-Fx was produced. During the manufacturing process, the ginseng powder in the capsules combined with the syrup in the new concoction. This mixture caused a number of bacteria to be produced and the products had to be destroyed.
However, even after nearly 400,000 bottles of the liquid Cold-Fx were destroyed, the powder itself remained contaminated. Afexa felt it was safe for the batch from 2008 to be repackaged and resold years later. Valeant has recently confirmed that the bacteria is a benign cousin of E. coli. Nonetheless, Valeant stands by its decision to package the products, arguing that the product is still safe to use. Valeant states that cousins of E. coli are not known to cause illness.
Although Health Canada has agreed with the assessment Valeant recently reported, that hasn’t prevented many people from being concerned as powder from the contaminated batch of 2008 has been found in Cold-Fx products at stores.
While Health Canada isn’t as concerned about the contaminated batch of liquid products, Valeant recognizes the importance of changing the labeling on its products. Jody Shkrobot, president of the Canadian Pharmacists Association, stated that pharmacists and physicians would likely be making recommendations to patients based on the claims that Cold-Fx provided “immediate relief” for patients suffering from cold symptoms.