The day IHRB was sanctioned

The day IHRB was sanctioned

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In all my dealings with IHRB and Sam Cohen, I have found that he just points the finger at other people, but fails to acknowledge that he has been in hot-water himself. His colour laser-printer churns away as he hands me damning reports about his competitors. He never sells me on anything good about his company. He just tells me how bad other people are. He delights in putting the boot-in when any of his competitor are named and shamed, but he seems to forget that he is just as bad as they are.

[UPDATE: New Sanctions in November 2011 found IHRB’s ads unlawful and misleading. Read the latest by clicking here. A copy of the original offending ad has now been retrieved from the archives and is featured at the bottom of this page.]

In meetings held in November and December 2006 by the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Council, the Complaints Resolution Panel determined the following, as handed down in January 2007 by the Chairman Mr Jason Korke, on behalf of the Panel:

Section 4(5) of the Code prohibits the inclusion in advertisements of comparisons that “imply that the therapeutic goods, or classes of therapeutic goods, with which comparison is made, are harmful or ineffectual.” In the context of the advertisement as a whole, the Panel considered the words “Lasers and High Frequency Machines: Are these devices medically approved for hair regrowth? They DO NOT BLOCK the balding Gene (DHT)” to carry an implication that lasers and high frequency devices are ineffectual, whether or not they are appropriately approved. The Panel therefore found this aspect of the complaint justified.

Section 4(7) of the Code requires that testimonials included in advertisements for therapeutic goods “must be documented, genuine, not misleading and illustrate typical cases only.” The Panel noted that one testimonial included in the advertisement appeared to show complete hair regrowth from a state of nearly complete baldness. On the basis of the material before it, the Panel did not accept that this testimonial could be considered typical. This aspect of the complaint was therefore found to be justified.

The Panel noted, without making a finding, that the advertisement appeared to be in breach of section 42C of the Therapeutic Goods Act in that the advertisement did not display an approval number and appeared not to have been approved before publication; and in breach of section 6(3) as none of the required statements were included in the advertisement.


The Panel requests the Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty, in accordance with subregulation 42ZCAI(1) of the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990:

a) to withdraw the advertisement from further publication;

b) to withdraw any representations that products other than those of the advertiser are ineffective, and any representations in the form of testimonials that are not typical;

c) not to use the representations in (b) above in any other advertisement unless Cat Media satisfies the Panel that the use of the representation would not result in a contravention of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989, the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 or the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code; and,

d) within 14 days of being notified of this request, to provide evidence to the Panel of its compliance, such as copies of instructions to advertising agents or publishers.

23. The sponsor’s attention is drawn to the provisions of sub-regulations 42ZCAI(3) and (4) which permit the Panel to make recommendations to the Secretary in the event of non-compliance with this request.

For a list of the codes, see the TGACC website by clicking here.

To read about IHRB failing to comply and being reported to the Department of Health, click here.

This determination was made in relation to a print advertisement appearing in a News Limited publication. In future artciles, we will compare and contrast his newer ads, to see if IHRB has complied with the request from the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Council whose members include:

The Australian Association of National Advertisers
Australian Consumers’ Association
Australian Direct Marketing Association
Advertising Federation of Australia
Australian Self-Medication Industry
Australian Traditional Medicine Society
Complementary Healthcare Council (formerly the Nutritional Foods Association of Australia)
Consumers’ Health Forum Inc.
Direct Selling Association of Australia
Medical Technology Association of Australia Inc
Pharmacy Guild of Australia
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Therapeutic Goods Administration.


Here is the ad that appeared in ‘The Sun Herald’ in Sydney on 6 August 2006. For a larger PDF, you can download a copy here: Sanctioned_IHRB_Ad_in_Sun_Herald_6_August_2006_sm.

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