01/12/2012 09:02 EST | Updated 03/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Does Cold-FX Work?


Claims by the manufacturer of Cold-FX that its cold remedy provides immediate relief may not be supported by scientific evidence, a CBC Marketplace investigation has revealed.

Dr. Andreas Laupacis, a clinical trials expert at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, said that in all the major published clinical trials he's looked at "there’s no such evidence" that the remedy will "stop colds and flu in their tracks."

"I didn’t see any studies to show whether Cold-FX works or not in people that notice a flu coming and then take Cold-FX," Laupacis said.

Published research has only looked at those who took Cold-FX every day for two to six months.

As well, Health Canada said the manufacturer of Cold-FX has never been authorized to market its product as providing "immediate relief" from colds and flu and wants the company to take "corrective actions." The pharmaceutical giant Valeant, which recently bought out Cold-FX, told Marketplace it's been working on phasing out the old packaging.

Using hidden cameras, Marketplace also discovered that, despite the lack of evidence of the efficacy of the capsules, pharmacists continue to recommend their customers take Cold-FX at the first sign of a cold.

"I would stand by Health Canada’s indication for the product and expect that that would be what pharmacists should be recommending or advising their patients," said Jody Shkrobot, president of the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

"Obviously if there’s some further education that needs to be done around that that’s what I would like to see happen," Shkrobot said.