Why did Sydney artist Ms Maree Azzopardi threaten me with legal action when I asked why she continues to endorse Sam Cohen’s IHRB hair regrowth treatment, considering that IHRB had been issued with a Permanent Prohibition Order by the Health Care Complaints Commission?
Maree Azzopardi has been authorising IHRB to feature her name and images in a range of advertisements, wherein she endorses Sam Cohen’s hair regrowth treatment. Ms Azzopardi’s threats are shown in Note 1 below. Her original testimonial is featured at Note 2 below.
Sadly, Maree Azzopardi’s glowing testimonial about Sam Cohen, contributes to why his ads are unlawful, misleading, and unverified .
In a 75-minute conversation with me on 13 November 2011, Ms Azzopardi (born in 1966) told me some amazing facts about her relationship with IHRB. I also updated her about what the Authorities had uncovered about IHRB and its owner, Mr Sam Cohen. I furnished her with evidence, and pointed her to my dedicated website IHRB-Story.com. Yet, she decided to ignore all the facts. She told me that she had started to lose her hair from Year 11 at school, and that she became so desperate about this condition throughout her adult life, that she had contemplated suicide. She said that she had ‘tried everything’, and was keen to try IHRB’s treatment as ‘a last resort’, which, to her amazement, did work for her. When I explained that hair regrowth was a specialised area, and that abusing certain medications could cause medical complications, including death, Ms Azzopardi told me that she had tried drugs in her youth, and felt that she had done worse things to her body. She also said, ‘I’d rather die with a full head of hair,’ and mused that she is going to die due to one thing or another, so it did not matter, so long as she was not going bald.
Upon questioning what Ms Azzopardi ‘had tried’ in the past, she referred to some ‘useless expensive shampoos’. She also said that baldness runs in the family, with her aunts suffering from the condition, and that her aunts had also tried a range of expensive shampoos that did not work. If all she had used were shampoos and non-theraputic products from shonky snail-oil merchants, it says to me that she had not really tried everything, because she had not consulted dermatologists or trichologists or specialist doctors. It would seem to me that prior to meeting Mr Cohen, she did not know about the existence of Minoxidil — a product readily available from any pharmacy and on-line. In my opinion, Ms Azzopardi’s joy that Minoxidil worked for her, was misplaced towards thinking that IHRB’s supposedly special secret formula had worked for her. This would be like a man (who suffers with erectile disfunction), not knowing about the existence of Viagra. He would go, as a last resort, in desperation, to a shonky man who tells him that he has a secret formula, and sells him a re-packaged product for thousands of dollars, claiming the product to contain his secret intellectual property, when all the while, that product is nothing more than crushed tablets of Viagra which the man could have obtained via his doctor and pharmacy for a few dollars, without signing any contracts and without having to be ripped-off for years on end. Ms Azzopardi was thrilled that Minoxidil worked for her. Indeed, Minoxidil works superbly for some people (until it naturally stops working, and things eventually decline rapidly because I believe that Minoxidil works for a few years, and then stops working, so it is just postponing the inevitable). While Minoxidil works for some people, it is dangerous for others. In fact, Minoxidil has been known to cause sudden death!  For another section of the population, Minoxidil could cause serious risks such an anaphylactic shock , oedema, weeping scalps , and rashes  (as well as fluid retention, if it gets into the system, which it can do, if used with Retin-A ). In some cases, Minoxidil does not grow hair, but can slow-down hair loss.
Maree Azzopardi falls in the category of those for whom Minoxidil really works. Had she purchased Minoxidil from her local chemist (or asked her doctor for a compounded Minoxidil with Retin-A), she would have enjoyed the same great results, especially if her doctor had seen fit to also recommended Propecia/Finasteride. To suggest that IHRB’s formula contains any special secret extracts, would be irresponsible. And that is exactly what Maree Azzopardi is suggesting, indirectly, when her name appears in advertisements wherein her before-and-after photos are shown under dubious, unverified, and misleading headlines (via unlawful ads) wherein IHRB speaks of, ‘OUR EXCITING! NEW IMPROVED FORMULAE…’ in ads that have no advertising approvals . Mr Cohen has been warned several times about the need to seek Advertising Approvals for his ads. He continues to ignore the laws of the land. He has been told to STOP advertising those unverified ads of his, and to remove all the unverified testimonials and misleading claims on his website, yet he persists. His ads have twice been Sanctioned , and twice been referred to the Secretary  for the Department of Health in Canberra, yet he snubs the authorities. Click here to stay abreast of how many years he has been in breach of the Sanctions imposed by the Complaints Resolution Panel. At the time of publishing this article, IHRB was in Breach to the tune of 2 years and 105 days!
Ms Azzopardi’s testimonial is telling the world that she concurs with Mr Cohen’s claims in his prolific ads that appear all over the place in all sorts of magazines and newspapers and on his website, and in several languages. Ms Azzopardi needs to understand what those ads are saying, and what she is endorsing, and how her name and photos are endorsing lies and alleged illegal activity. Click on the ad on the left and it will open a large file so that you can read it. Let us review it together, and hope that Ms Azzopardi can learn something about the part she is playing in Sam Cohen’s enterprise and how she can be contributing to others being harmed and ripped-off, while sticking her head in the sand and ignoring the facts, which were brought to her attention when we spoke on 13 November 2011. That’s over two years and three months ago, and she still does not seem to care about her responsibilities as a citizen of this country. The best she can do is threaten me with legal action, while requesting that I refrain from contacting her. If that’s not the ostrich mentality, then what is?
We have to ask Ms Azzopardi about the statement that Mr Cohen is making in the headline of this advertisement, in the blue section. He claims, ‘THIS IS A WORLDS FIRST AS WE GUARANTEE…’ What is a world’s first? The average person will understand this to mean that Mr Cohen has made some world-leading discovery . The average person will rightly presume that Mr Cohen has something new, and that Ms Azzopardi has tried it, and it worked for her. What’s new? Nothing. When legally confronted with this question, Mr Cohen says that he means that he is the first person in the world to offer a money-back-guarantee. That is a lie, because the company in which he was a Manager and a Director (the first iteration of Ashley & Martin) had offered money-back-guarantees decades ago, while he was working there! That was confirmed by the CEO of Ashley & Martin who confirmed in a letter to me that Ashley & Martin had offered guarantees in the old days when Sam Cohen was still working there — so, how can Sam Cohen claim that he is the first in the world to offer a guarantee? Besides, how does he know what every trader in the world is doing in terms of hair regrowth guarantees? What is the average person to reasonably assume, upon reading his headlines in IHRB’s unlawful ads?
Ms Azzopardi seems to not want to understand that the average reader will conclude that Mr Cohen has a world-leading formula. The average person will note that IHRB stands for ‘Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty’, and presume that Mr Cohen is some hot-shot who owns an INSTITUTE . He told me and others that ‘doctors know nothing about hair’, and that ‘all doctors are donkeys when it comes to hair regrowth’. He also told me that he was a Bachelor of Science. He had signed an Affidavit  to that effect, until he was convicted for point-blank lying about his degree  to the Consumer Tribunal. The average reader would then see other words (in the ad in which Ms Azzopardi is endorsing) including ‘OUR EXCITING NEW IMPROVED FORMULAE’. Readers will see the word ‘OUR’ and take it to mean something belonging to IHRB and Sam Cohen. They will see the word ‘NEW’ and connect it with ‘WORLD’S FIRST’. They would see the word ‘formula’ and presume it to be a medical or therapeutic product. Later in the ad, they read that Mr Cohen has conducted ’40 YEARS OF RESEARCH’. Please read the rest of those sentences and ask yourself what Mr Cohen is claiming and asserting and boasting. He later speaks about having ‘innovated’ something and ‘improving’ something else. He mentions ‘hair implants’ and the word ‘procedure’ and the word ‘consulted’, which culminate in medical phraseology. In the end, Mr Cohen has no qualifications; no such experience as we are led to believe; and no license and nothing to do with the medical field. He simply sources Minoxidil and Finasteride and Loniten and Retin-A and claims that the success that these products bring, were due to his genius. I draw your attention to the sentence in the ad that says, ‘BESIDES THE MINOXIDIL &/OR RETIN.A, ALL THE OTHER ADDED “NATURAL EXTRACTS” ARE EXCLUSIVELY MY SECRET FORMULAE’.
DEAR MS AZZOPARDI
Ms Azzopardi, you might wish to know nothing about this. However, your face and name and testimonial are telling the world that this ‘SECRET FORMULAE’ worked for you. That you are a satisfied client of the ‘NATURAL EXTRACTS’. All three pharmacists have said that no such extracts exist . What is this secret formula? You must know. Yes you must! You are endorsing it. What is it? Has it been tested in a lab, like the TGA would require? Has it been Registered with the TGA? NO and NO are the answers. Is Mr Cohen authorised to add anything to medications and poisons? No! Was he ever licensed  or permitted? No! You said that Mr Cohen asked you to go to a doctor and obtain a prescription. Click here to read what the NSW President of the Australian Medical Association said when he described this as ‘absolutely disgraceful’ . What has the Health Care Complaints Commission told him to do? The ad in which you feature, contains a tiny line at the bottom which reads, ‘Subject to HCCC’s permanent prohibition order’. That means that Mr Cohen and IHRB are PROHIBITED, PERMANENTLY, from supplying or selling or giving any medications and touching any prescription and supplying or selling or giving-away any therapeutic products that are Scheduled by the TGA… and Ms Azzopardi, Minoxidil is a Scheduled poison! So you are telling the public that you are purchasing products from a man for whom it would be a criminal offence to supply it or sell it to you in any shape or form, via any method, however convoluted that might be. The full definition is noted below, so that you can understand the legal definitions of SUPPLY and SELL! When cornered, Mr Cohen has said that he does not provide Minoxidil. That he now only sells Activance  (even though my laboratory tests  have proved otherwise). Even if so, note that Activance has nothing to do with hair growth, and it is a product whose ads have been Sanctioned and withdrawn for being misleading. If Mr Cohen tells you that he is just giving you harmless water with his secret formula added to it, that would be illegal, because he is claiming, and you are confirming, that the bottles contain a solution that has regrown your hair. That would make it a therapeutic product. Selling therapeutic products is illegal if they are not Registered with the TGA, and that means they cannot be Registered unless they offer scientific proof, and the bottles must be labelled according to the law, to include the ingredients. Do you know what they are? Are you telling the world that you are transacting at the receiving-end of illegal activity?
One more thing Ms Azzopardi: if Mr Cohen will tell you that your bottles do not contain Minoxidil, then in a safe way, pour a little on a dish and take a match to it, and if it ignites, you will know that it contains alcohol, which is what is used to mix the Minoxidil. Activance contains no alcohol. And did you know that all bottles that contain alcohol must be labelled as such, by law? Is that another piece of illegality? And some medications containing Alcohol cannot be sent via Australia Post. Have you been receiving yours by post? The irregularities seem endless.
Let us return to the ad in question. It says that Mr Cohen’s secret formula, which he says is the best in the world, ‘CAN NOT BE AVAILABLE THROUGH MR. CHAN’S & HUNTER PHARMACIES OR ANYWHARE (SIC) IN THE WORLD.’ Here, Mr Cohen is saying that Mr Chan, who had supplied the bottles to IHRB for over eight years (until that pharmacist discovered how they were being used, and dumped IHRB despite being owed money by Mr Cohen) and Hunter Pharmacy which supplied for almost two years, cannot supply again, because, Mr Cohen claims, he holds the secret formula. He claims to own the intellectual property. Sadly, the owner of Hunter Connect Pharmacy was struck-off the register  for the part he played in supplying IHRB with medications. The Pharmacy Tribunal said they found it ‘repugnant ‘ that any pharmacist would add anything from IHRB into a medication.
The ad in which Ms Azzopardi appears, has a line in red, bold, italic text: ‘BE VERY WARY ABOUT WHAT YOU HEAR AND SEE!!‘ with two exclamation marks. There you have it, Ms Azzopardi. That’s good advice. Not only are we advised to be wary, but to be VERY wary. So why did you not consider that gem of wisdom and become very wary about what Mr Cohen is saying , which you are backing, by agreeing with him, as his proof-positive that you are the end-result of his claims. You are the proof of his pudding. You cannot claim ignorance to any of this, because I had brought it all to your attention. And now that I am calling you to account, you threaten me with legal action. What is your culpability in this matter?
Maree Azzopardi’s testimonial, if it is to be in any way a true and correct account, should read something like this, ‘Dear member of the public. I was losing my hair, and desperate to find a solution. I saw an ad for Mr Cohen’s company. That ad should never have been published because it was Sanctioned in 2007  and should have been withdrawn. Nonetheless, I went to see Mr Cohen and he charged me $3,000 for products that he said were his own invention, containing secret natural extracts  and his own Indian Curries. I did not take much heed of what he said. I was eager to try anything. So I paid $3,000 and walked out with two bottles of Minoxidil (bottles which were originally compounded for another customer, but I did not notice ). And I went and got a prescription for Minoxidil with Retin-A and also for Finasteride. I did not know that it was illegal for Mr Cohen to be selling me any of these items. I did not understand the medical risks. I did not realise that Mr Cohen was not licensed to supply or sell such medications. I simply followed his orders and started to use the Minoxidil and Finasteride. To my delight, my hair grew back. I presumed that he was clever, and that his formula was the reason that my hair grew back. I had no idea that no such formula existed . I had no idea that a pharmacist should never deal with Mr Cohen and IHRB, and that I should have had a direct relationship with the pharmacists so that they could exercise their duty of care. To this day, Mr Cohen has not proved to me what his secret extracts are, or if they exist. He has never listed them on the bottles. I was given Saw Palmetto with a sheet of paper listing what is in the Saw Palmetto, but I did not realise that Saw Palmetto has been debunked by the New England Journal of Medicine, and that it has nothing to do with growing hair. And I certainly did not understand that the intention of Saw Palmetto was for prostate cancer, therefore, as a woman, I had no idea how a debunked product that does not work for men, was going to work for me, but as I said, I was eager to follow orders because I was at a stage where I was contemplating suicide. Since using Minoxidil and finding it useful, I started to pay approximately $200 per bottle to Mr Cohen, who never told me that he was Prohibited (by the Health Care Complaints Commission) from supplying or selling this to me. My bottles kept changing, from one pharmacist to another, until they finally arrived completely blank, and had no marking on them whatsoever. I had no idea that a poison, and a pharmacy-only product, should never arrive in this way, and that there were laws governing the supply of Scheduled Poisons and medications. I had first met Mr Cohen on 27 April 2009 and stayed as a customer for a long time, buying through the post, until I went to see Mr Cohen on 27 October 2011, which was when I wrote a testimonial, not realising that my hair growth had nothing to do with him whatsoever, and it was all thanks to the Minoxidil. I was lucky that Minoxidil worked for me. I am not sure if it could work for you, or if it might kill you, and that is why you must see a doctor and check this out for yourself. I paid Mr Cohen $3,000 to sign-up. I now realise that to be stupid, because when I go to the chemist and purchase any medication, I do not sign-up to anything. I just buy what I need. No-one out there makes men sign-up and pay $3,000+ so they can be given Viagra at exorbitant prices. They just see their doctor, obtain a prescription, and go to the chemist and pay the market price. So dear reader, if you suffer hair loss, then just go to your doctor and seek advice. I also paid exorbitant prices for IHRB’s organic  shampoos and Dermaclean which I have no proof that they are any more than expensive detergent , and which Mr Cohen has said during a Tribunal hearing that they have nothing to do with growing hair. ETHICALLY AND LEGALLY I MUST DISCLOSE TO YOU ALL THAT I AM WRITING THIS TESTIMONIAL AFTER I WAS OFFERED A 50% DISCOUNT ON ALL IHRB PURCHASES WHICH MEANS I AM RECEIVING A GREAT DISCOUNT JUST TO TELL YOU HOW GREAT MR COHEN IS, but in actual fact, I do not trust him, and I do not believe what he says, but all I know is that my hair grew back, and the mediations I took could cause you a great deal of pain because each person reacts differently to these medications. Oh, and if you plan on becoming pregnant, YOU MUST BE INFORMED THAT I TOOK FINASTERIDE, AND THE WARNINGS FOR FINASTERIDE IS THAT IF A PREGNANT WOMAN SO MUCH AS TOUCHES THE INGREDIENTS IN FINASTERIDE, HER UNBORN BABY BOY COULD BE BORN WITH DEFORMED GENITALS. And anyone pregnant should not use Minoxidil — full stop.’
I had explained to Mz Azzopardi that the Commissioner of the Health Care Complaints Commission  had said that Mr Cohen had ‘operated unethically’ and that he had ‘endangered the health and safety of his clients’. I also suggested that her amazing hair regrowth could only be attributed to the medications she was taking (Minoxidil with possibly Retin-A, after starting on Finasteride) and that such medications were available to her via her doctor and pharmacist at approximately $15 to $20 per bottle, instead of the $200 per bottle she was paying after the initial $3,000 she paid as a sign-on fee. Ms Azzopardi said that she would look into it. Yet, two years later, Ms Azzopardi is still allowing IHRB to feature her testimonial in its advertising. During our conversation, Ms Azzopardi seemed more concerned that her surname was being published in IHRB’s advertisements, than the fact that she was dealing with a less-than-desirable operator. She said that she had hoped that Mr Cohen would only use her first name, but not her surname. Below we can see how the earlier ads had included her full name, and later started to feature only her first name.
Asked if it bothered her that she was giving a glowing testimonial for a treatment that was not the intellectual property of Mr Cohen, and that she was unwittingly assisting Mr Cohen to allegedly rip-off innocent, desperate consumers, Ms Azzopardi said that her highest priority is her hair. She did not want to know about anything else. ‘I did not want to know what was in the product,’ she said. Ms Azzopardi added that Mr Sam Cohen, ‘Looks and sounds like a con-man,’ but that she was so desperate, that she just wanted to try whatever Mr Cohen had to offer. When her hair started to grow back, she was delighted. She admitted that what she had learned about Mr Cohen had shocked and horrified her, but, ‘My vanity makes me think I don’t want my hair to stop growing’. It was this fear that had stopped her from delving into the IHRB treatment. She added, ‘I did not want to ask any questions, even though I had a gut-feeling that Sam’s stuff will most likely kill me, by giving me cancer or something else, but on the other hand, I’m happy with my hair.’
Later in the conversation, Maree Azzopardi said that she does not believe anything that comes out of Sam Cohen’s mouth. ‘He is a car salesman,’ she added. Of all the information I presented to Ms Azzopardi, it seemed that the most disturbing related to Mr Cohen using her surname in print. ‘I’m really pissed-off that he has used my name.’ Obviously choked-up, and about to cry, she exclaimed, ‘What the F#ck? I cannot believe that Sam has sent out my handwritten note, which I wrote while I was in his office a few days ago.’
That was all quite perplexing, because while Maree Azzopardi was not keen on having her surname in print, she did not mind having her photos published. She also signed a model-release form, giving IHRB exclusive rights to use her testimonial. With that in mind, I cannot understand why she was so upset that Mr Cohen was copying her hand-written testimonial and distributing it to his clients and prospects, as part of his sales pack. What was she expecting him to do with it? (The hand-written testimonial is reproduced below.)
Maree Azzopardi is delighted with her hair regrowth. Unfortunately, she has not grasped the fact that her hair grew back as a result of the medications she was using, and had nothing to do with Sam Cohen’s supposed secret herbal extracts. While speaking with me, Ms Azzopardi reached for one of IHRB’s bottles, which she said was dispensed by Elias Pharmacy of Fairfield. The bottle said that it contained Minoxidil 3% with vitamin-A. I suspect that the real addition was Retin-A, and that the pharmacist writes vitamin-A as a decoy to probing eyes. Nonetheless, Ms Azzopardi said that she was dealing directly with IHRB and Sam Cohen, which is illegal.
At the time of writing this article, a search for Minoxidil 5% was available from a Sydney on-line store called MailOrderPharmacy.com.au for $86 for six bottle (which comes to $14.33 per bottle). While YourChemistShop.com.au was selling the same packs at $89.95 with free delivery (which comes to $14.99 per bottle). And these are for 5% Minoxidil. Lower concentrations are cheaper. Why then is Ms Azzopardi suggesting to the world that people ought to purchase the same items (illegally) from IHRB for $200 per bottle, after paying $3,000 as a sign-on fee? Mind you, some clients pay up to $4,900 as a sign-on fee!
If Ms Azzopardi believes that IHRB has special added extracts, she needs to know that the TGA requires any such additions (which would be illegal for IHRB to add (or have added by a pharmacist)) to be clinically and scientifically proven to be efficacious. All three pharmacists who had supplied IHRB with products, have signed their name to attest that they had never added anything that could be deemed to be the intellectual property of IHRB or Mr Cohen. All three pharmacists have furnished written documents that say they have never added anything that could be called an active ingredient, or that could be of any therapeutic use to hair growth. The TGA requires any such additives to be listed on the bottles. IHRB’s bottles have never listed any such ingredients, because I have been alleging that the secret efficacious active ingredients do not exist. If they were to exist, it would be illegal for IHRB to add them to anything.
REQUEST FOR AN INTERVIEW
On 3 February 2014 I invited Ms Azzopardi to conduct a formal interview with me so that she can explain why she continues to endorse Mr Sam Cohen. She responded with threats of legal action and an AVO.
For the benefit of Ms Azzopardi, and to those innocent consumers who might be influenced by her testimonial, here are some facts to consider:
1) While under Oath and in other correspondence, Mr Sam Cohen has denied ever paying any of his clients for testimonials. Yet, Maree Azzopardi told me that Mr Cohen struck a deal with her to sell products to her at half price, if she permitted him to use her images and testimonial in his advertising. That, to me, constitutes a paid endorsement. To my mind, it renders the testimonial useless and dubious. Consumers are not told that Ms Azzopardi is receiving a 50% discount for helping Mr Cohen to promote his business. At the time of speaking with me, Ms Azzopardi had been paying around $200 per bottle (per month), after her initial payment of approximately $3,000. After that 50% discount, I estimate that Ms Azzopardi has so far benefitted to the tune of $3,900 in discounts, plus other significant amounts due to savings on IHRB’s shampoos and the like. To my mind, that renders her independence impotent.
2) The testimonials do not reveal to the reader what medications Ms Azzopardi was taking. She told me that she was initially taking Finasteride, which she said Mr Cohen had described as ‘a booster’.
3) The testimonials do not reveal to the reader that Ms Azzopardi was using Minoxidil 3%, which anyone could have purchased for approximately $15. Yet she was initially paying $200 on top of her $3,000 starting fee.
4) Ms Azzopardi is endorsing Mr Cohen and his Institute of Hair Regrowth & Beauty — both of which have been issued with a Permanent Prohibition Order. This means that Ms Azzopardi is dealing with a man who, by law, is not permitted to sell (or give free of charge) such medications to her, nor to anyone else. (Over the phone, she read the labels to me, which listed scheduled medications.) The Orders, which were made by the Health Care Complaints Commission, prohibit Mr Cohen and IHRB from ‘SUPPLYING’ or ‘SELLING’ any medications that would need a prescription, and any medications that can only be purchased via a pharmacy. That means Mr Cohen cannot supply such medications, and cannot take any money for them, and cannot arrange for them to be supplied. I wonder what the authorities would find if they inspected Ms Azzopardi’s banking/spending details and cross-checked Mr Cohen’s banking details. The law prohibits such interactions and transactions. Yet, Ms Azzopardi’s testimonials say, ‘I would recommend you to everybody.’
From the 22-page Statement  by the Health Care Complaints Commission, we read:
The Commission made a prohibition order under section 41A(2)(a)(ii) placing the following conditions on Mr Cohen’s practice:
– Mr Cohen must not be in possession of any client prescriptions.
– Mr Cohen must not obtain, supply or sell any medications requiring a prescription by a medical practitioner or required to be sold only by a pharmacist
– Mr Cohen must inform his clients that loniten is not approved in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration when advising clients about hair regrowth prescription medication.
The conditions in the prohibition order will be permanent.
The Act below tells us what the words ‘SELL’ and ‘SUPPLY mean. You can read more about this by clicking this link  and going to paragraphs 6.3 all the way to 6.91. For now, here is the summary:
6.3 The PTGA [Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act] contains the following definitions.
6.4 SELL – includes dealing in, agreeing to sell, or offering or exposing for sale, or keeping or having in possession for sale, or sending, forwarding, delivering or receiving for sale or on sale, or authorising, directing, causing, suffering, permitting or attempting any of such acts or things.
6.5 SUPPLY includes:
a) Sell, dispense and distribute b) Supply, whether by free of charge or otherwise, by way of sample or advertisement c)Agree or offer to sell or distribute d) Keep or have in possession for sale, dispensing or distribution e)Send, forward, deliver or receive for sale, dispensing or distribution.
With these in mind, why is Ms Azzopardi telling the public that she is an IHRB client? Why would she want to do this, when it is against the law for Mr Cohen to be supplying or selling any such medications to her?
TRANSPARENCY AND TRUTH
I wonder why Ms Azzopardi refused my request for an interview, when on her very own blog, she says that she personally values transparency and truth. Why not apply the same philosophy to the message that she is broadcasting to innocent consumers who are likely to be lured into the clutches of IHRB, thanks to her unverified testimonial and endorsement.
THE TESTIMONIAL FROM SAM BADAWI
In some of the advertisements, Maree Azzopardi shares the page with a Mr Sam Badawi, who also blindly supports Mr Cohen. Click here to read a detailed review of Mr Badawi’s testimonial , which Ms Azzopardi would do well to study and comprehend.
MAREE’S PROMISE TO SAM
Ms Azzopardi told me that she felt obliged to honour her promise that Mr Cohen could use her photos because when they first met, Mr Cohen was so confident about the outcome that, according to Ms Azzopardi, he had said words to the effect, ‘Your hair will grow back, and I’ll be featuring your success to my clients’. To which Ms Azzopardi said she replied, ‘If you can really regrow my hair, I will most definitely let you use me as one of your models.’ And there began the promise that Ms Azzopardi felt duty-bound to honour. However, there was a lot that Ms Azzopardi did not know at the time, including the whole illegal way in which the medications were supplied, and the fact that any ads need official Advertising Approval (which IHRB had NEVER obtained), and the fact that the Health Care Complaints Commission had imposed a Permanent Prohibition Order on IHRB and Mr Cohen, and the fact that the mediations which were instrumental in regrowing her hair were not the intellectual property of IHRB or Sam Cohen. Furthermore, Ms Azzopardi might not have known that the rules of advertising therapeutic goods include that advertisements must be verified, for products that are Registered with the TGA, and that offering a client any incentive to provide a testimonial (such as the 50% discount) renders the testimonial improper.
NOTE 1 — Maree’s threats
Anyone reading Maree Azzopardi’s reaction to my request for an interview, might think that I have been repeatedly contacting Ms Azzopardi. In 2011, I sent her a message to alert her to Sam Cohen’s alleged scam. On 13 November 2011 we spoke for 75 minutes. She then asked me to furnish her with documents, which I sent in a simple email immediately after our conversation, and I followed that up with helpful advice two days later. Then nine months later on the 10th of August 2012, I sent her an email containing an advertisement in which she was featured as a model for IHRB. I had no contact with her until 3 February 2014 when I sent her a request for a interview, which I sent via email and duplicated it in a message via Facebook.
‘I request you desist from contacting me, otherwise I will seek an AVO. The use of my name, image etc are prohibited and will result in legal action if used. I request you stop contacting me through Facebook as well. Sincerely. Maree Azzopardi.’
NOTE 2 — The Testimonial
On 27 October 2011, Ms Azzopardi told me that she visited Mr Cohen at his office, and she penned a testimonial. Below is a copy that Mr Cohen was sending to clients. Later on, Mr Cohen decided to type-up the testimonial (which you can see below). It featured the full name ‘Maree Azzopardi’.
After I contacted Ms Azzopardi in November 2011, she told me that she did not want her full name out in the public, and that she would ask Mr Cohen to stop using her surname. You can see that Mr Cohen continued to send out the document with the surname, but he crossed out the surname which anyone could still read in the right light.
SOME OF THE ADS IN WHICH MAREE APPEARED
Maree’s Before and After photos as distributed by IHRB
Sam Cohen’s business card
EMAILS BETWEEN ME AND MS AZZOPARDI
SECOND REQUEST FOR AN INTERVIEW
Dear Ms Azzopardi, if you believe that there are inaccuracies in this article, I would invite you to contact me via email so that my team can arrange a recorded radio interview with you and me, where you will be given an opportunity to set the record straight. I mean you no harm. I am just trying to stop IHRB from harming other consumers. Also, I am trying to alert you to the part you might be inadvertently playing in this alleged scam.