Enzymatic was originally the distributor of the product from its launch in 1995 until 2000, when rights were handed to GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare as it entered consumer markets.
According to the company, its growth and other recent distribution acquisitions mean it is now in a position to take the product's distribution to the next level. The transaction will come into effect on June 20.
Remifemin is the product most often used in trials assessing black cohosh as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy. A double-blind study just published in Obstetrics and Gynecology (2005;105:1074-83) showed that it can significant reduce menopause symptoms, particularly in women in the early stages of menopause, with no adverse side-effects.
The recent controversy over black cohosh stems from a double-blind, placebo-controlled study presented by Mayo Clinic scientists at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference this month, which seemed to show that black cohosh does not reduce hot flushes in women any better than a placebo.
But the American Botanical Council (ABC) has disputed the findings, saying that the four-week trial was probably too short for the effect of black cohosh to be evident to all the women.
It also commented on potential problems with the herbal used in the trial, saying that researchers had planned to use Remifemin but had been unable to obtain a supply and so had attempted to duplicate it.
The ABC says that it is not clear to what extent the researchers were actually successful in replicating an exact match of Remifemin.
Menopause-like symptoms such as hot flashes are also a known side effect of certain cancer therapies. However in a study published in the April issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, black cohosh was seen to interfere with the cytotoxicity (cell killing) effects of certain cancer drugs.