IHRB illegally selling drugs

IHRB illegally selling drugs

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Here is a signed statement made by a former IHRB client to the HCCC, saying that Sam Cohen illegally and irresponsibly and dangerously sold three types of medications, all without a doctor’s prescription and with no medical assessment and with no warnings or instructions. The client went to see Sam, but the client did NOT ask for these medications at all! Sam offered them as a solution to this man’s major reaction to the previous IHRB rubbish that Sam had sold to him, requiring this client to go to hospital after his head filled with pimples that were filled with blood, not to mention the scalp burning along with breast and testicular pain. Sam convinced the client that the major reaction had nothing to do with Sam’s topical solution. After the second illegal sale, the client paid via credit card, and walked out, purchased some plastic bags from a store, and placed the bottles inside the bags in order to preserve the fingerprints because he knew that Sam would deny it.

Not only did Sam deny it, he said to the Health Care Complaints Commission (which has now placed a Permanent Prohibition Order on him) that the client had stolen the medications. Sam had given this client prescription-only medications on two occasions, and Sam is saying that on both occasions, the client went into his office and stole them! The lies never end. How embarrassing for a man to lie when we all know the truth of the matter. He really believes that lies somehow erase the truth.

Below are some photos with explanations, and then further below you can read the full statement as signed by the client at the HCCC head office, witnessed by one of the investigators.

Here is a photo of the first illegal sale, made by Sam Cohen. There was NO prescription for this product called Proscar which contains Finasteride. No warning. And no matter what Sam Cohen says, he should not have had this packet in his office because he is neither a doctor nor a pharmacist. This product is not approved by the TGA. Sam sold this to the client without any warnings. The client suffered testicular pain and chest/breast tenderness, and we now know that this product can cause permanent erectile dysfunction and lead to male breast cancer. The packet says that it was prepared for a Mr Gregory Holmes. Who is Mr Holmes? It must have been a previous client who did give Sam a prescription. Sam kept the prescription and used it illegally to acquire this drug to sell it to some other poor unsuspecting client. I personally wrote to Doctor Graham Chin, who returned my letter in a rude way and refused to co-operate. I wanted him to alert his patient Mr Holmes that IHRB is abusing his prescription. Dr Chin did not want to do anything about it. I wonder why. Incidentally, I wrote to every HOLMES in the Sydney White Pages, but I could not locate this particular Mr Greg or Gregory Holmes.

Below is another illegal sale. This time, the client placed the packet in a plastic bag because he knew that he would be contacting the Health Care Complaints Commission, and he wanted to preserve Sam’s fingerprints. This product is not for hair. It is not approved by the TGA. There are other products on the market that are approved. This is not an approved product. Why was it in Sam’s office? It had no label and no name. So why is Sam stocking up on drugs illegally? Who is supplying it to him? How is the pharmacist processing the orders in the system? For this product, the pharmacist is not known, but I assume it was from the Pitt Street pharmacist whose compounding and retail pharmacy was raided and searched and evidence found!

Here is Loniten sold by Sam. It was later placed in a plastic bag to preserve Sam’s fingerprints. No doctor, no name, no pharmacy listed, no warnings, no documentation, no prescription. So why was it in Sam’s IHRB office? Sam is trading in drugs of a most serious nature. Selling this is not only illegal, it is super mega ultra dangerous. This product is not approved for hair growth in any way, shape, or form. And people taking this medication for their heart would only have been prescribed it as a last resort when no other medication on the market would suffice, in cases of extreme blood pressure problems. Anyone taking Loniten should take two other medications to stop heart palpitations and fluid retention around the lungs, and be on a special low-sodium diet, and the whole thing has nothing to do with hair, and the manufacturers and all medical warnings say not to ever use it for hair. Sam sells it because the sorry and sad side effects of this product is hair on any part of the body, and that could be your forehead, or your back, or your ear, or your nose.

Below we see another photo of a bottle containing 15% Minoxidil. Sam told the client that he can use it, and if it works for him, he can pay Sam $600 for this bottle, while showing the client the IHRB price list that features this product at $900. My local compounding pharmacist sells this bottle at $70. This is a prescription only medication. The client did not ask for it. It was given to him. He had no prescription, and never had one. 15% is a massive dose. The FDA and TGA approved products are only 5% maximum. As I had explained in a previous article, if Johnson & Johnson can’t go from 2% to 5% without jumping through hoops and producing an 800-page scientific report, how does Mr Cohen just go from 5% to 15% at the tick of a pen? AND HE ADDS retinoids in the mix. Where are the 800-page clinical trials for that! Yet, Sam can just dish out this 15% bottle with not a moment’s thought, to a client who had to go to hospital previously, and now is being asked to take non-approved Schedule 4 medications that must be issued by a doctor, which I believe no ethical doctor would even prescribe! In any case, why were they in Sam’s office? This bottle had no client name. This is illegal. A compounding pharmacist must compound for a client. Who was the client? Who was the prescribing doctor? The label does not say. Where were the warnings? Everything about this sale breaks every rule. We can see that the bottle says, ‘**formulated according to ihrb specifications**’ What are those specifications? How can a bottle be made for a no-body called Sam Cohen. Sam himself said to the HCCC that he is a ‘no body’ meaning that he has nothing to do with anything and that he cannot and does not involve himself with anything at all. Sam says that he is far removed from any medication and any advice. What a laugh, mate! How can he say this when he has a printed price list on his letterhead. He has a price list, and an order form! So how can Sam say he does not sell it? The police raid proved that he had a large quantity of drugs in his office. What? The tooth-fairy broke in and put them there, and any client who ends up with them must have stolen them, and anyone who suffers any medical problems must be dreaming? Wake up Mr Cohen.

Incidentally, the Minoxidil bottle above was placed in a plastic bag to preserve Sam Cohen’s fingerprints. After his first pharmacist of Melbourne dumped him, Mr Cohen went and secured the services of a second pharmacist in Sydney’s CBD. I quickly knew about the second pharmacist supplying to IHRB, so I phoned the new pharmacist to warn him to be careful about the alleged scam and Sam’s irregularities. Before the penny had dropped for the new pharmacist who was later shocked to learn the truth behind Sam Cohen’s dubious operation, it was too late, and his pharmacy was raided, all thanks to Sam Cohen and his irregularities. You can read more in the HCCC 22-page report. which can be downloaded if you click here.

The new pharmacist for Sam as at February 2011 was Elias Pharmacy of Fairfield. I spoke with Mr Elias. He was not sure what to make of my friendly call. He said that he does not care if Sam is unethical. He said that he is not doing anything wrong, and that if he does not sell the medications to Sam, someone else will, so why should he miss out on the revenue. I then sent an email to Mr Elias with the link to the Health Department’s first Prohibition Order and the HCCC media release. Mr Elias thanked me politely via email. I do not know what he has done since then. I have no idea if he understood how the alleged scam works. Until people understand the elaborate and dangerous alleged scam, they do not seem to take any notice of what I am saying. It has been said that love is blind. In that case, money must be distracting. People are so excited to make a buck that they do not conduct the due diligence. So my final words to Mr Elias were, ‘You need to wonder why Sam’s previous pharmacists are no longer doing business with Mr Cohen.’

SAM’S RESPONSE

Note that Sam will say (as he said to the investigators at the HCCC during the two interviews (the first lasting five hours) and later via Sam’s lawyer) that the client did, at one time, have a prescription, and so a year or two later, Sam did not think that a prescription would be needed. Sam is lying again, and please note:

1) Over three years ago, Sam asked the client to go and obtain a prescription for Loniten. The client did this, but the client never gave that prescription to Sam, so Sam never saw it and never had a copy of it.

2) At one time, Sam sold this client a packet of Proscar. The client never had a prescription for this at any time. The packet had another client’s name on it. Sam now says that the client stole it.

3) The client suffered a major reaction to Sam’s formulation, so much so that his head was filled with pimples that were filled with blood. He went to hospital and told Sam about it. Sam said that this had nothing to do with his minoxidil solution.

4) The latest sale occurred over three years after the first visit. Sam sold Loniten (dangerous and never approved for hair) and the 15% Minoxidil bottle (a super major dose) and Proscar (not approved) that Sam gave to the client. All three require a doctor’s prescription. And even if a client has a prescription, it is illegal for Sam to be touching them, selling them, prescribing them, or recommending them. During a 5-hour interview with the HCCC, Sam was confronted with this evidence, and he said that the client, for a second time, stole these products. I have 100% evidence that it is Sam who is lying, but we will furnish that in court if he wishes to persist with trying to blacken the character of an innocent client. In any case, if we humour Sam and suppose that the client stole them, what were these products doing in Sam’s office? Such drugs should have never been in his office. They did not even have a client’s name on them, so he cannot even say that he was acting as an agent for a client to pick them up. Which-ever-way Sam Cohen tries to worm his way out of this, and no matter which door, ceiling or floor he tries to crawl over or under, he will zap himself because no matter which scenario he wishes to propose, he hangs himself. We can pick any lie and go any which way he likes, and no matter which lie he wants us to swallow, he will be incriminating himself. And as a last resort, he can say that the client is lying about everything and the client snuck in at night and processed his own American Express transactions. If that were true, how did Sam’s fingerprints get onto those medications? Why did the police find hundreds of tablets and bottles in Sam’s office, and why and how did the HCCC find what it found at the Pitt Street pharmacist when it conducted a search on the pharmacist as well? My dear reader, it is mind boggling that this man can keep on lying and is now accusing his client of stealing products, when the evidence, real hard core, police evidence and HCCC meticulous evidence is so bloody clear.

5) Apart from all of this, we all forgot to mention that the treatment did not work, and the client never received a refund. At the time, the client was a student who had borrowed the money on a credit card, paying credit card interest rates. In my opinion, the scam continues, and people are being hurt, and Sam will just shut the world out by saying that it never happened. How simple!

THE CLIENT’S STATEMENT TO THE HCCC

THE OFFICE OF THE HEALTH CARE COMPLAINTS COMMISSION STATEMENT
in the matter of the Second Complainant

Name & address: Known to the Commission. Date: October 2010

This statement made by me accurately sets out the evidence which I would be prepared, if necessary, to give before a Tribunal, Court or Professional Standards Committee as a witness. The statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I make it knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated in it anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.

I am 28 years of age.

About late 2006 I noticed the hair on my head was thinning. I did some research on the Internet and found the website of the Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty (IHRB). The website offered a money back guarantee that hair would regrow and a free first consultation.

In late 2006 I made an appointment by telephone and my wife and I went along to a consultation together. The IHRB office is on level 5, 105 Pitt St Sydney. When I arrived I met a man who introduced himself as Sam Cohen. I do not recall whether or not Sam asked me to fill in any forms. Sam showed my wife and me a lot of files and photographs of people whom he said he had helped to regrow their hair.

I told Sam that I had been using Vechi but it was not working for me. Sam said to me words to the effect of, “you are a young bloke. I know I can grow your hair back. If you were over 30 years old I would not be able to promise you any hair growth, but at your age it is easy for me to grow your hair back.” Sam said this to me again and again.

During this first consultation Sam also told me I would be using what he called his ‘Minoxidil topical solution’ to assist with my hair regrowth. This was the only medication he mentioned to me. He did not indicate that I needed a prescription for the Minoxidil. He advised that 12 bottles of Minoxidil and his shampoos would cost about $3700.00 but I managed to negotiate him down to $3000.00.

I asked Sam how long I would need to be on his treatment and he said words to the effect of, “you will need to take the medication for the rest of your life if you wanted to have hair. You won’t need 12 bottles of Minoxidil each year.” Sam also said that he put ‘special spices’ in the Minoxidil. He said they were his special curries mix and it was a safe herbal solution. When I asked him what the spices were he said something like, “no, if I tell you what it is I won’t make any money. People offer me lots of money to reveal my secret but I won’t reveal it to anyone. I am going to keep it for my grandkids. It is like the Kentucky Fried Chicken spices.”

I also remember that Sam said that he had treated famous people in Australia. He also said jokingly something like, “future doctors will be prescribing my medications.”

About a month after my first consultation with Sam I went to see him again. Just prior to this I visited Advanced Hair Studios in Surry Hills and discussed their laser hair treatments. I was concerned about using a laser treatment so I thought I would be better to go back to IHRB.

On the second consultation with Sam my wife did not go with me. Sam again talked about his Minoxidil product with the special curry mix. I told him that I understood that Vechi was a Minoxidil product and it had not worked for me. Sam said his solution would work because of the special curries.

During this consultation Sam took photos of my scalp. Sam then showed me a picture of my scalp with circles over the areas of my scalp where I was losing hair. He then asked me to sign the picture next to a statement that said something like, “I do not expect hair to regrow in affected areas.” I thought this was strange but I signed the document. I thought that Sam had reassured me that the hair regrowth programme would work for me and because he had so many testimonials about how his treatment programme worked I thought I had nothing to lose.

During the second consultation Sam advised me that I needed to go to my general practitioner (GP) and obtain a prescription for Proscar. Sam gave me a document which was about 10 pages with a list of GPs, their suburbs and telephone numbers. He said that if my GP did not prescribe Proscar I could go to any GP that was listed on the document and they would prescribe Proscar because they know him. I no longer have a copy of this document.

I asked Sam what Proscar was and he replied with words to the effect of, ‘it is just a basic tablet that will make your hair grow faster.” Sam did not mention that Proscar may have side effects. He gave me a tablet cutter so that I could cut out the tablets.

During the second consultation Sam said that I should use the Minoxidil topical solution he had with him until my order of it came in as he did not want me to waste any time. He said it would be better to start the treatment straight away. Sam also said that he would order more Minoxidil solution for me and I could pick it up in a few days.

Sam did not advise me that I needed a prescription for the Minoxidil or that there may be side effects of the products and medication I was using as part of his hair regrowth programme during any of my consultations with him.

I walked out of the second consultation with Sam with two small bottles of Minoxidil topical solution, shampoo, derma clean and conditioner. I do not recall the Minoxidil percentage. There was no patient name on the bottles. I paid Sam $3000.00 using my credit card for the hair regrowth programme.

A few days after my second appointment, in late 2006, I went back to IHRB and picked up 2 or 3 bottles of Minoxidil topical solution, however, I had understood that my payment for $3000.00 was supposed to include another 8 or 9 bottle of the Minoxidil topical solution (12 in total). I asked Sam where the other bottles were. Sam made some phone calls and then said words to the effect of, “sorry for the delay but you will have to come back and get the rest of the Minoxidil topical solution later.”

I took the 2 or 3 bottles of Minoxidil topical solution and used it regularly at home. Sam did not advise me that I required a prescription for Minoxidil at any time. I cannot recall how long after I started to using it but I noticed that it was past the expiry date on the label. I contacted Sam and advised him that the product had expired. He agreed to take those bottles from me and replace them with Minoxidil topical solution that was not out of date.

About a month after I started using the Minoxidil topical solution and other products I felt my scalp was itchy. I contacted Sam and told him about the itching. He said that this was normal.

About early 2007, approximately 3 months after my second consultation with Sam in late 2006, Sam telephoned me. He asked me to come into visit him. About a week later I went to see Sam at the IHRB office. We discussed that I had experienced some hair regrowth. He took photographs of my scalp which showed the hair regrowth.

Whilst I was in the third consultation with Sam I asked him about the other bottles of Minoxidil topical solution that he owed me. Sam got up and went into the next room. When he returned he had 6 bottles of Minoxidil topical solution. The bottles had someone else’s name on it. I cannot recall the name. I asked Sam why the bottles did not have my name on it. Sam said something like, “Don’t worry, the bottles are the same. They were sourced from Victoria.” I think that the percentage of Minoxidil in these bottles were 5%.

Despite the improvement in my hair growth I felt some side effects in the time I used Proscar. These side effects included chest / breast tenderness and testicular pain. I cannot recall when these side effects started. I researched the side effects on the Internet and decided that I should take fewer Proscar tablets. I cannot recall if the side effects went away once I took fewer tablets.

About January 2008 I saw Sam again at the IHRB office as I had run out of Minoxidil topical solution. The 6 bottles of Minoxidil topical solution I had were expired so I gave them to Sam. He agreed to replace them and asked me to return in about a week. I also asked Sam about the side effects of Proscar that I had read about in the Internet. I asked him if the Proscar could impact on my ability to have a family. Sam replied with words to the effect of, “that is bullshit. There is nothing to worry about. Lots of people take it. It will not affect you if you take one or two milligram a day.”

About late January 2008 I went to the IHRB office and saw Sam to collect the 6 bottles of Minoxidil topical solution that he owed me. I think these bottles had on the label that they contained 5% Minoxidil but I am not sure. I do not recall if the labels had a person’s name on them.

The instant I started using this batch of Minoxidil topical solution I got a big rash on my scalp. I used approximately 1.5 ml that morning, as instructed. There were pimples on my scalp which seemed to be full of blood. The pimples and rash went from the top of my forehead and over my entire scalp.

I was very concerned about the rash and pimples so I telephoned Sam and spoke to him about it. Sam advised me to stop using the Minoxidil topical solution for a few days, until the rash calmed down. He said that when I use it again I should use half the amount I had been using.

I stopped using the Minoxidil topical solution for 3 days and when I started again I used approximately half a ml. My manager noticed my scalp and he was concerned about me and he suggested I go to a hospital so I went to the emergency room of the Sydney Hospital on Macquarie Street. I was reviewed by a doctor there. As I was embarrassed about telling the doctor that I was using a hair regrowth product I told her I had been using a new shampoo. The doctor indicated she was surprised that a new shampoo could cause such a bad rash. She advised me to stop using the shampoo and come back in 3 days if there was no improvement.

The following day, I went back to see Sam at IHRB and showed him how bad the rash on my head was. Sam told me he was calling a man in Melbourne who he indicated was the compounding pharmacist. As Sam used the telephone loudspeaker I could hear that the man had an Asian accent. Sam asked the man a few times if he was sure that he used the correct percentages of the medications. Sam and the man on the telephone agreed that they would make up a new batch of the Minoxidil topical solution using a lower percentage of Minoxidil.

I do not recall if it was in this appointment or a subsequent appointment but I recall that Sam said to me words to the effect of, “the newer bottles are different from the original batch. The pharmacist is trying to change the general formula to make it less sticky.”

A few days after I went back to IHRB and collected bottles from the new batch of Minoxidil topical solution. I cannot recall how many bottles I picked up. I used the Minoxidil topical solution and the rash on my head started to get worse.

I went back to IHRB and saw Sam and told him that the Minoxidil topical solution was causing the rash problem again. He again called the pharmacist to try another formula or alter the percentage of Minoxidil. A few days later, I picked up the bottles with the new Minoxidil topical solution formula from Sam and tried them. The rash on my head reappeared, even with the new bottles that I had been told contained a new formula. Again I called Sam and discussed the problem with him and he asked me to bring the bottles back and try yet another new formula.

This cycle of picking up new bottles with a new formula, trying it, getting a rash and advising Sam happened another 2 or 3 times. I felt like Sam was not listening to me when I told him about the problems I was experiencing. He began insisting that my rash had nothing to do with the bottles of Minoxidil topical solution.

In addition to the rash I also noticed that my hair loss was getting worse. On one of the appointments or phone calls with Sam in early 2008, after I had tried many Minoxidil topical solution formulas, I asked him for a refund. Sam did not want me to give up or give me a refund and so he came up with a new package. Sam told me that I should stop taking Minoxidil and take a product called something like Capro Natural. Sam told me that the product contained ‘Indian Curries’ and no Minoxidil.

In early to mid 2008 I went back to IHRB to speak with Sam again about my hair loss problems (because I had seen no improvement with Capro). Sam asked me to go to my GP and obtain a prescription for Loniten. Sam did not tell me that Loniten was not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for hair regrowth or that there may be some side effects. Sam also asked me if I was taking Proscar. I told him that I had run out of it. Sam reached into his bag and pulled out a packet of Proscar. I did not show or give Sam a copy a prescription for Proscar.

I paid Sam for the Proscar (without a prescription) using my credit card. I cannot recall exactly how much he charged me but I think that it was between $80 and $120. The medication had someone else’s name on it. The name was Mr Gregory Holmes whose GP was noted on the label as Dr Graham Chin. At that time I did not know that it was illegal for Sam to sell me Proscar.

I took both Proscar for the next few weeks. The rash on my head subsided but I started to feel pain in my testicles and chest tenderness. I also noticed that my breasts were growing. I decided to drop the whole treatment programme and stopped taking the medication. I did not speak to Sam and about these side effects that I was experiencing and that I did not want to continue with the programme because when I tried to speak to Sam about problems in the past he just kept on insisting I tried new things that did not work. I felt like an animal that was being experimented on.

I did not see Sam from about mid 2008 to September 2010. During this time I got in touch with Jonar Nader through a website he created about the IHRB programme (IHRB Story). This website outlined problems with the IHRB programme and Sam’s conduct. Jonar and I discussed that we both felt misled by Sam and that he had taken our money and not provided a safe and effective hair regrowth service.

On 2 September 2010 I decided to go back to IHRB as Sam still owed me 6 bottles of Minoxidil. I spoke with Sam about growing my hair back and that he owed me more Minoxidil topical solution. Sam then provided me with a bottle of solution with 15% Minoxidil without a prescription. This was a much higher percentage than I had previously had. Previously I think that the bottles Sam gave me contained 5% Minoxidil in the solution.

Without asking me for a prescription Sam gave me Loniten and Proscar from the room next door to his consultation room. I was also given a pill splitter that had someone else’s name on it. This pill splitter has been provided to the Office of the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC).

I paid Sam $185.00 for the medication via EFTPOS using my American Express card. A copy of the receipt is annexed hereto and marked “A”. I also have a price list from IHRB which shows the cost of various products including Loniten and Proscar. A copy of this price list is annexed hereto and marked “B”.

Sam also said to me that if the 15% Minoxidil works fine, that I would have to pay him $600. His price list shows the cost of the 15% Minoxidil at $900. I later found out that such a product ought to sell for approximately $70 at a regular pharmacy. I do not know why his prices were inflated in this way.

I left IHRB with the medications and I put them in a plastic bag to preserve Sam’s fingerprints. I gave the plastic bags to Jonar as I knew that he was going to be making a complaint to the HCCC. I understand that Jonar has since given these items to the HCCC.

END OF STATEMENT

P.S. IHRB is the name of the Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty run by Sam Cohen (Samuel Faraj Cohen) of 105 Pitt Street Sydney. It is also written as Institute of Hair Regrowth & Beauty or Institute of Hair Re-growth & Beauty and the company purports offers hairloss (hair loss) and hair growth treatments.

The Health Care Complaints Commission issued this statement on its website on the 23rd of February 2011.

You can learn more here.

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