When my brother and I were kids, we weren’t ever given cold and flu medication. Our dad was a pharmacist… a pharmacist who pimped litres of sugar syrup during cold and flu season believing it was the biggest rort on the planet. It drove him nuts to be asked by earnest customers, “Well, which of those 60 different cough syrups is better for my dry hacking insomnia-inducing cough?” when what he really wanted to say was, “They’re all equally useless.” But they wanted a recommendation from an expert, so he’d smooth down his white pharmacist’s jacket and randomly select a bottle from the shelf. My dad, the modern day snake-oil salesman.
I’m not a high-risk category for H1N1, so haven’t rolled up my sleeve to be innoculated yet, although I’ve been mainlining Happy Planet Immunity shots (which were deployed to excellent effect during the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival this April), thinking, “well, it can’t hurt…” (and it helps that the Happy Planet immunity boost involves no needles and tastes like the blackcurrant cough syrup I never did get to sup on.)
But on a recent tour of the Pacific Sport Centre in Whistler, which I visited for an article for Mountain Life in which I attempted to become superhuman, I discovered that Canadian athletes have been on a government-sanctioned doping program. Not wanting to blow any Own the Podium Top Secret special advantages, I sat on the information… but here’s what I discovered. Canadian Olympic athletes have been doping themselves with free caseloads of Cold FX.
The national team is sponsored by Cold FX and the athletes are provided two tablets a day, to take like a vitamin, for prophylactic measures.
Weird, that a sporting showcase with an anti-doping commission would not just have an Official Supplier relationship with a pharmaceutical company, but would pronounce Cold FX the 2010 Olympic Games’ official cold and flu remedy, and would encourage athletes to pop the pills by the handful.
Maybe my dad was right. Snake oil salesman make millions. Every one wants to feel that they have a special booster in their wellness arsenal. And ultimately, believing it pretty much makes it so.