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lurgy busting zinc

In the US you can get Zircam, Zinc Gluconium in a forma that I can only call artificial snot. This binds preferentially to the cold rhinovirus, so it can't bind the the cells of the mucosal mebrane, so it reproduces less; and like human mucus, the medium englobulates the virus and it passes out of the nose. To be effective you need to use it every three hours. We find that if you use it at the correct frequency this lessens the length and severity of anything that is really a cold by half and can stop you developing a cold after being in the neighbourhood of someone infectious. There are versions as pre-loaded swabs, versions as gloop you dispense onto a swab (both are applied nasally) and versions as a sweet chew that start out like a Chewie and end up like medicine. You can't get them in the UK so we stock up stateside. The packages are something like $10 max.

As I expect there is some regulation that would stop me starting a business importing this stuff wholesale, if we were to find we had bought extra boxes of this on our next trip, would you want some at cost? Leave a comment here and we'll fetch some back next time we're in the US (and do say if you prefer swab/squirt pack or chews).



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
3rd Feb, 2008 11:01 (UTC)
As I expect there is some regulation that would stop me starting a business importing this stuff wholesale, ...

Yup: if it's sold as a cold palliative then it's a Medicinal Product, within the meaning of the Medicines Act. As long as it's not also a controlled substance you can import it for your own use, but before it can be sold, it needs a produce license granted by the CSM. Sale without a license is an offense and can cost you a lot of money, and/or a stretch in prison (in extremis). Obtaining a license will cost several tens of millions of pounds and take approximately eight to ten years due to various regulatory hoops concerned with little things like long-term toxicity studies to verify safety and clinical trials to establish efficacy.

I would guess that FDA approval was granted a long time ago, the product is marginally profitable, and nobody can be arsed jumping through the hoops in the UK to bring the product to market -- they'd have to earn back enough in profits to cover the multimillion pound investment in licensing within a few years (even assuming a patent can be obtained -- it may well be out of patent), and people just aren't willing to pay £25 a pack for something that'll halve the duration of a common cold.

NOTE: I am not a lawyer, and I have not been a registered pharmacist for 18 years, so nothing in this comment constitutes professional advice by a qualified individual.

Edited at 2008-02-03 11:03 (UTC)
4th Feb, 2008 03:44 (UTC)
Yup. I use it preventively when I travel. I hope thereby to have it kill the cold viruses before they get very far. So far this year it or other precautions are working, which is good cause all my colds turn into bronchitis and I hack and cough for 6-8 weeks with each one.

And we load up on Zirtec/Xirtec when in the EU. :) it's a very effective allergy pill that is prescription only here in the states. It's loads better then the other prescription med the Dr. had me on.

Ah the joys of those few last things that aren't yet globally available.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


full steam ahead
Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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