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Ill. Sues Internet Pharmacies

October 22, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) _ Illinois has filed suit against four online pharmacy firms, saying they aren’t licensed to practice in the state and therefore can’t send drugs here.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in circuit court by Attorney General Jim Ryan, seeks to block the Internet pharmacies from doing business with Illinois residents.

``Prescription medicines should only be dispensed under the care and supervision of properly licensed doctors and pharmacies,″ Ryan said. He said the Web businesses ``were ignoring the law and putting any consumer who has a computer and a modem at risk.″

The American Medical Association and two state doctor and pharmacist groups are supporting the suit.

Named as defendants were ExpressMed Services Co. and Express Today Inc. of Chandler, Ariz.; M.D. Healthline of Phoenix; DVM Enterprises Inc. of Midlothian, Va., and Male Clinic of Los Angeles.

Gary Henglefelt, owner of Plaza United Pharmacy, which dispenses drugs through M.D. Healthline, said he did not know of a law blocking his firm from Illinois sales.

``If a law could be produced that is correct, we would stop selling in Illinois,″ Henglefelt said.

Ryan said he filed suit after his aides surfed the Internet to determine if prescription drug Web sites verified the health status of their customers as claimed.

One of his staffers, then pregnant, was able to get a seller to ship her Viagra from out of state, Ryan said.

Nancy Coles of the Coalition for Consumer Rights said she had concerns about cutting patients off from low-cost sources of drugs but also noted she had heard of problems arising from Internet sales.

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