Navigating regulatory issues in the beauty industry

By Jerome Doraisamy|20 August 2019

It is a “really exciting time” to work as a lawyer in the healthcare and beauty space. However, such legal work is not without its challenges, discusses one general counsel.

Speaking recently on The Corporate Counsel Show, Laser Clinics Australia general counsel and company secretary Kirsty Silbert said that when it comes to the legislative landscape, the issues to be faced by in-house legal teams are challenging because the space itself is so new.

“Some of the treatments that we offer are full with Schedule 4 drugs, and they probably weren’t intended to be used for the purpose that they’re being used now in terms of beauty,” she explained.

“So, it is a new industry, it’s evolving and there have been various inquiries from state health departments in terms of how we should evolve in looking after those products.”

When asked if general counsel and their legal teams thus have to take an approach whereby legislation has to be interpreted as to the intended meaning, in order to ensure compliance, Ms Silbert said, “Absolutely”.

“We absolutely pursue best in class, so we will follow protocols to a higher standard. One of the things that we need to focus on in the industry is ensure that everybody who is participating in this industry, the retail level, aims to work to a high standard because the legislation hasn’t actually caught up,” she posited.

“So, we’ve seen a few incidences where practitioners haven’t followed the protocols that are in place. And unfortunately, that does end up in the media and brings the whole industry into scrutiny.

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This also means that, “in true legal fashion”, consent forms and waivers have to be as stringent as possible, because certain treatments do not guarantee exact results, as every person is different.

“For example, on laser hair removal, someone may require four treatments to get their desired result. Somebody else might require nine treatments to get the result.

“So, theres no guarantee that everybodys going to end up the same way. So, clients need to have realistic expectations and need to be aware that the treatments do differ from person to person.”

It can be a hard balance to strike, she noted, to ensure that such forms are specific enough to cover bases but at the same time general enough so as to ensure compliance with one’s interpretation of the legislation that, as aforementioned, may not have yet caught up to the industry’s activities.

“We do have different forms for our different treatments, but one thing we do have to balance is its not as simple as a product that wasnt working that requires a refund,” she said.

“Sometimes people are just not satisfied with the particular result, and they want to do more, or they want to change their treatments. So, we do need to be quite conscious of the clients needs, and balance that against the business rights in terms of where we are required to refund, or to repeat the treatment, etc.”

To listen to Jerome’s full conversation with Kirsty Silbert, click below:

Navigating regulatory issues in the beauty industry
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