Public Statement in relation to Mr Samuel Cohen

23 February 2011


On 22 February 2011 the Health Care Complaints Commission concluded its investigation into Mr Samuel Cohen and the Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty (IHRB).

Under section 41A(2) of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993, the Commission has made a prohibition order and has decided to issue the following public statement

The Health Care Complaints Commission (the Commission) conducted an investigation into Mr Samuel Cohen and the Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty (IHRB).

The investigation found that Mr Cohen has been supplying and selling prescription and non prescription pharmacy-only medication directly to his clients and has been supplying clients with medication obtained from other clients’ prescriptions. He has also been selling medication to clients without their prescriptions having been dispensed. 

The medication provided by Mr Cohen had not been dispensed appropriately labelled with client and prescribing doctor’s details and has not provided clients with important medicine warning information sheets as to the side effects of the medication. Mr Cohen has recommended the drug loniten to his clients as an approved medication in Australia for hair regrowth. Loniten is not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the use of loniten tablets, in any formulation to promote hair growth, is not an approved indication. 

Mr Cohen recommends to his clients topical solutions for application to the scalp which are a combination of minoxidil and topical retinoids such as retin A. Such a combination is not recommended by the TGA due to the possibility of enhanced minoxidil absorption and consequently increased potential for adverse reactions.  

Mr Cohen has breached the code of conduct for unregistered health practitioners in that he has failed to provide health services in a safe and ethical manner and his provision of health services is a risk to public health and safety.

The Commission made a prohibition order under section 41A(2)(a)(ii) placing the following conditions on Mr Cohen’s practice:

  1. Mr Cohen must not be in possession of any client prescriptions.
  2. 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
  3. 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.

Mr Cohen claims that the practice of directly supplying medication to clients is common throughout the hair regrowth industry. It is also evident that a number of General Practitioners have been prescribing loniten and minoxidil mixed with topical retinoids without being aware of relevant guidelines.

Given the complexity of the matter and the apparent public interest in the full circumstances being disclosed, the Commission’s Statement of Decision will also be made public.


Further Information


The Commission’s statement of decision is available here

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

The information in this media release is correct at the time of publication. Orders may change; for example, conditions may no longer apply. For current information regarding the status of this health practitioner, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

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