Saturday Stub: CBC Marketplace What FX?
Posted by Ethan Clow on January 14, 2012
How is your Saturday going? Ready for some quick skeptical input? Great, because do I have a great Saturday Stub for you!
Remember that time we were on CBC Marketplace? Heh heh, of course you do! But our friends at Marketplace have kept up the good skeptical outreach of tackling bogus health products.
Recently CBC Marketplace did an episode exposing the product, Cold FX!
You can watch the whole episode here on Marketplace’s website.
It’s a pretty great episode and good skeptical review. They address some very key points when it comes to Cold FX, which for those of you who haven’t heard about it, is a Canadian product that claims to decrease the length and severity of the cold and flu.
Not surprisingly, with such claims being made, people were going to be skeptical that Cold FX could do what it actually claimed to do.
Marketplace investigated a number of scientific studies that were done on the drug, talked with several experts and tried to figure out why and Cold FX is allowed to put strong claims like that on their packaging. Doesn’t Health Canada have regulations about that sort of thing?
Of some of the shocking realities unearthed is that Cold FX isn’t manufactured in Canada, rather, its produced in China and then put in capsules in Canada. The factory in China where its produced has been questioned by authorities as being a poor choice for the production of medical supplies.
This might have led to the other revelation Marketplace uncovered, that Cold FX was contaminated with bacteria and then was sold regardless! Not great company ethics there.
A great moment was when host of Marketplace Erica Johnson interviewed Cold FX’s spokesperson Don Cherry:
Overall I was very impressed with the episode and I really hope that skeptics in Canada check it out and let the producers know that they love to see this kind of critical thinking on the air in Canada. The only thing I would have liked them to include was a mention about how and why people tend to think a product like Cold FX could work.
When you notice symptoms of a cold or flu, you might take some medication, but most people don’t take medication until the worst symptoms show up. After all, it’s when the symptoms are at their worst that you need relief from them. But it’s important to keep in mind that cold and flu’s have a predictable progression, right after you hit the worst symptoms, the cold and flu generally go down in severity and you get better. So what happens is that people take medication right when things are at their worst, they get better and attribute it to the medication and not the natural progression of the disease.
It’s hard to explain without a graph or something so I can understand why Marketplace didn’t go into it. Nevertheless, another great skeptical win!