Sam Cohen & the Code of Conduct

Sam Cohen & the Code of Conduct

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The Health Care Complaints Commission publishes a Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Professionals. Sam Cohen is certainly an unregistered person. As for being a health professional: that’s obviously not the case. Mr Cohen has no qualifications whatsoever, despite lying about his degree, which landed him in Court which resulted in a criminal conviction. Mr Cohen has a Permanent Prohibition Order affixed to his name and his career and his company IHRB. This means that he cannot supply or sell medications that need a prescription, or medications that can only be purchased from a pharmacy. In effect, he can’t supply nor sell any scheduled therapeutic product. In any case, this article reviews some of the Clauses in the Code of Conduct which forms part of the Public Health (General) Regulation 2002, Schedule 3.

You can review the requirements at the HCCC website if you click here.

You can download a PDF poster of the Code of Conduct if you click here.

Clause 10 Health practitioners not to financially exploit clients: 10(3) A health practitioner must not provide services and treatments to clients unless they are designed to maintain or improve the clients’ health or wellbeing.

With or without a Prohibition Order, IHRB was never licensed to handle medications. The core of the alleged scam involves IHRB’s claims that its treatments are the best in the world because they contain IHRB’s secret herbs and exclusive natural extracts. Despite every effort on my part, including issuing a Summons, IHRB has not been able to prove that its natural extracts can maintain or improve a client’s hair in terms of promoting hair regrowth. Clients who enjoyed some benefit, did so as a result of commercially-available Scheduled medications such as Loniten, Retin-A, Finasteride, and the topical Minoxidil which IHRB sells at $220 and $900, when the same products retail at $15 and $75 respectively (and sometimes much cheaper, with free delivery). IHRB justifies this exploitation by saying that the topical solutions contain the secret extracts. Note that no clinical proof is available to show that the extracts improve the clients’ hair regrowth. The TGA requires all therapeutic goods to be Registered with the TGA after solid scientific proof and clinical trials have been furnished.

11 Health practitioners required to have clinical basis for treatments.

In full-page advertisements, IHRB says that apart from Minoxidil and Retin-A, it incorporates its own exclusive and secret herbal extracts. First, how can any pharmacist compound these prescription-only medications, when no prescription had ever prescribed the inclusion of IHRB’s secret formula? No prescription can note these, because no doctor would be so stupid, and no doctor knows what they are, because IHRB does not tell anyone what they are. It is illegal to sell products where the ingredients are not known (despite Mr Cohen citing KFC’s 11 herbs and spices which are not under the purview of the TGA and which are not Therapeutic products). Second, despite being summonsed to do so via a CTTT case, IHRB was unable to furnish any proof of any clinical trials. Despite being given every opportunity, plus an extension, and help from his solicitor, Mr Cohen could not satisfy the Complaints Resolution Panel about any of his claims. Not a single solitary claim could be verified, despite the 18-page response by IHRB, via its solicitor.

12 Health practitioners not to misinform their clients: 12(1) A health practitioner must not engage in any form of misinformation or misrepresentation in relation to the products or services he or she provides or as to his or her qualifications, training or professional affiliations.

IHRB is using Paragraph 6.20 of the HCCC Statement of Decision to tell clients that the secret and exclusive natural extracts do exist, because, Mr Cohen says, that HCCC says that they exist. This is misleading, because the average consumer would presume that the HCCC has proof that such extracts do re-grow hair, and that such extracts are the intellectual property of IHRB. HCCC has said that it never verified the existence of the extracts. It simply reported what Mr Cohen told the investigators during the interview after the Police raid. Here is a letter from the Commissioner of HCCC confirming that the HCCC knows nothing about the efficacy of the supposed secret extracts. As for other aspects of this clause 12(1), note that the Complaints Resolution Panel found IHRB’s advertisements and website to be ‘unlawful, misleading and unverified.’ Mr Cohen will show signed contracts with pharmacists. These have been debunked here. Mr Cohen has successfully misled the Consumer Tribunal (CTTT) by submitting that the HCCC has supposedly acknowledged the existence of his secret extracts.

12(2) A health practitioner must provide truthful information as to his or her qualifications, training or professional affiliations if asked by a client.

Mr Sam Cohen lied about his qualifications in various publications, including an Affidavit against one of his clients. He also lied at CTTT. The Department of Fair Trading was successful in gaining a conviction in the Local Court against Mr Cohen for providing misleading information to the CTTT about his qualifications. Mr Cohen tried to appeal, but was told by the judge that he should not push his luck, lest the judge impose an even harsher penalty. So Mr Cohen and solicitor left the court, with a criminal conviction intact. Mr Cohen’s lies about his qualifications were significant in how he lies to his clients about his treatment, which he says is the best in the world, because he personally had invented the secret and exclusive natural extracts which he now deceptively says have been confirmed by HCCC. The HCCC has confirmed nothing. It merely noted what he told them in their 22-page report that concluded that he was an ‘unreliable witness’ and a person who ‘endangered the health and safety of his clients.’ By the way, the new line from Mr Cohen is that he studied for his Bachelor of Science, but he never completed the course. Like everything about Mr Cohen, I believe nothing. He can’t prove any of it, except with dubious pieces of paper. At first he told investigators that he left his country in a hurry and couldn’t take his Degree with him. Then he said that he has his ‘intermediary’ papers which I think is like junior high school grades. Whatever he says, you have to say, ‘Prove it’. He can’t prove a thing. In which case, words are easy and cheap! The Fair Trading Commissioner Mr Rod Stowe said that Mr Cohen even tried to mislead Fair Trading investigators during the investigation, in an effort to through them off the track.

12(3) A health practitioner must not make claims, either directly or in advertising or promotional material, about the efficacy of treatment or service provided if those claims cannot be substantiated.

The Complaints Resolution Panel handed down a Determination on 16 November 2011, finding IHRB’s advertisements and their claims to be:

‘Unlawful, misleading, and unverified, and breached the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.’ (This has since been vindicated by the TGA which issued a Regulation 9 Order against IHRB.)

A total of 12 Sections of the Act and Codes were breached. The Panel has placed three new Sanctions on IHRB:

1) Publication of retractions on-line and in all the print media where the representations were made;
2) Withdrawal of representations, and
3) Withdrawal of advertisement.

In 2008, similar Sanctions were issued. IHRB ignored those Sanctions for 22 months. Unfortunately, Mr Cohen has similarly ignored the latest Sanction. It has been over two years now, shooing nothing more than complete disregard to the law. You can monitor his breaches by the day, at this daily counter.

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