Cold-FX Is Facing A Lawsuit For Misleading The Public

The use of over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications is a multibillion-dollar industry — millions of individuals reach for these medications once the initial cold symptoms surface. In fact, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) reported that 66 percent of adults and 70 percent of parents rely on OTC cough medications to treat both their own and their children’s symptoms.

One of those companies, located in Canada, is now being scrutinized based on potential accounts of fraud for misleading the public. When taking treatments such as Cold-FX, the public assumes that it will help target problematic symptoms such as congestion, sore throat, runny nose, nausea and sneezing.

Now the makers of Cold-FX are facing a lawsuit because they ignored their own research, continuing to sell their product under false pretenses. This highly popular flu and cold remedy was being sold even though the company knew that it didn’t truly provide significant beneficial results. When it all boils down, people paid money for a product that was essentially worthless. 

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The current lawsuit against Valeant Pharmaceuticals 

In 2012, a Vancouver resident by the name of Don Harrison filed a claim against Valeant Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Cold-FX, as well as Afexa Life Sciences for promoting a false product. As stated in their advertisement, Cold-FX provides “immediate relief” from cold and flu symptoms.

More importantly, they stated that positive results would be experienced when taken for a three-day period — when in reality, evidence shows that this “natural-health” product only offers positive results when taken daily for periods of two to six months. Not only did consumers waste their money, but they unnecessarily exposed themselves to a number of possible side effects.

Cold-FX has been reported in a number of studies, with one 2004 study showing that a placebo was more effective at relieving some cold symptoms than Cold-FX was. In fact, a lack of significant evidence has been reported on a number of occasions. Based on the approximate revenues for Valeant, it’s been estimated that around 500 million dollars would need to be refunded.

What exactly is Cold-FX, and what’s next? 

Cold-FX is made with American ginseng, and while there’s no doubt that this root may provide a range of health benefits, it has not demonstrated any benefits based on the claims made by Valeant and affiliated companies. Colds can be caused by one of numerous viruses, causing immune reactions in response. 

American ginseng has been shown to potentially stimulate immune cells, but while focusing on cold and flu symptoms, evidence is lacking. The issue is that there is no research showing that “immediate” relief will be experienced as falsely advertised. Within another study, published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Cold-FX failed to show improvement in comparison to a placebo once again.

At this point, nothing has been proven in court and no charges have been made. Not only is Valeant and its associates a concern, but also Health Canada. Within a recent interview with Maclean’s Magazine, the leading litigator who filed against Valeant Pharmaceuticals explained that Health Canada does a “terrible” job at regulating natural health products. 

He went on to say, “[i]n a recent ruling, a Canadian judge said that Health Canada was nothing more than a filing agency.” They have recorded adverse effects associated with Cold-FX in the past but have failed to take any sort of known action. Consumers have a right to remain protected, and this case hopes to encourage Health Canada do their job more effectively.

Treating and preventing cold and flu symptoms — the role of vitamin D 

Although Cold-FX is considered to be a “natural” health product, there are some potential risk factors involved in terms of adverse effects. When it comes to colds and the flu, nothing is more effective and safe than preventative measures. Of course, a balanced, healthy lifestyle will help prevent the development of cold and flu symptoms, but what happens when you catch a flu or cold?

The truth is, although influenza is common, a large percentage of illnesses that appear to be the common flu are actually caused by other bacteria or viruses. In most cases, a virus is the cause, and although natural antibiotics, such as garlic, are healthy, they will essentially be ineffective — except in select cases, when a virus is accompanied by a secondary bacterial infection, such as bronchitis. 

Although you may not feel like walking your dog when suffering from the flu or a cold, it’s important to get enough vitamin D. In fact, a number of studies have reported that a lack of vitamin D is associated with a greater risk of respiratory infections, influenza and other related illnesses. 

One recent study, published in Canadian Family Physician, reported that patients with influenza were treated with a “vitamin D hammer” — a one-time 50,000 IU dose of vitamin D3 or 10,000 IU three times daily for a total of two to three days. Within 48 to 72 hours, there was a complete resolution of symptoms. 

Researchers concluded that the results were dramatic and that a one-time dose at this level has never been shown to be toxic. They urged the need to study this relationship in greater detail, especially due to the estimated cost — this complete treatment would be less than a dollar.

—Krista Hillis

Krista Hillis is passionate about nutrition, mental health, and sustainable practices. She has her Bachelors in Psychology and Neuroscience and is still active in her research. Studying both the body and mind, she focuses on natural health and balance. Krista enjoys writing based on her ability to inspire others and increase overall awareness.



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