CVT issued a shareholder's advisory yesterday that noted that on 12 November it had entered into a distribution agreement with Calgary headquartered ECP to sell the ginseng-based product COLD-fX directly to ECP's customers in United States as well as indirectly to other cross border pharmacies in Canada.
"We are very excited about this agreement since our preliminary customer surveys tell us there is a high level of interest in products such as COLD-fX. This coupled with a shortage of flu vaccines in the States presents an interesting opportunity for Extended Care Pharmacy and CVT," said ECP's president, Andy Troszok.
Extended Care Pharmacy is one of approximately 150 Canadian cross border pharmacies which specialize in providing prescription drugs into the US pharmaceutical market - currently estimated at C$1 billion annually.
"Selling COLD-fX to US consumers through cross border pharmacies located in Canada is a good way for us to start developing product awareness. This will also give us a chance to determine consumer acceptance of COLD-fX in the US without compromising our current focus on expanding and strengthening our Canadian market," said CVT's CEO, Dr Jacqueline Shan.
COLD-fX is the first natural health product to successfully complete an FDA regulated Phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial according to the company. The study in question was conducted at five US nursing homes and showed that COLD-fX reduced laboratory confirmed upper respiratory infection induced by influenza and respiratory syncytial virus by 89 percent.
The company announced in October that it would recruit 500 people on whom to trial the product in conjunction with the University of Alberta and medical officer of health, Dr Gerry Predy. It noted yesterday that this call up had provoked much media coverage, that in turn - coupled with strong advertising - has led to a significant increase in consumer demand for the product.
The trial will measure the effect Cold-fX has on strengthening the immune system and preventing colds and flu, as well as its ability to reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms. Around 500 healthy adults with a history of recurrent colds and flu will be given the remedy for four months.
"Institutionalized older adults in five nursing homes who took Cold-fX for up to 12 weeks reduced their risk of getting influenza and respiratory syncytial virus by 89 per cent. We now want to try it in a healthy adult population," said Dr Predy.
"This is the first winter with retail penetration in Quebec and combined with stronger Ontario distribution, this should help drive our sales growth and support our Canadian business. The flu season has created much concern among Canadians and COLD-fXis proven to be a safe complement to the flu shot," said the company.
Cold-fx will be one of the first nutraceuticals to be registered under Canada's new natural health product regulations, entering into law in January next year.
Ginseng is also thought to enhance stamina and reduce feelings of fatigue and physical stress. Recently it has been found to have an anti-cancer function and to normalise blood glucose levels, improving insulin sensitivity and reducing risk of obesity.