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VENICE -- A sign on the front window of the new Discount Drugs of Canada store offers the first clue it isn't just another drugstore.
"No drugs or money on the premises," the sign reads.
Inside, the store's owner, Erik Vossler, sits behind a desk and computer terminal. A former philosophy major, Vossler, 34, has had no professional training in pharmaceuticals.
"I don't need it because I am not running a pharmacy," Vossler contends. "We call ourselves 'pharmaceutical facilitators.'"
Running up to the line of what is legally permissible -- and, some allege, charging over it -- Discount Drugs of Canada and stores like it market thousands of prescription drugs to local residents through Canadian pharmacies.
They do it by operating drug stores without actually selling drugs, taking money from customers, having registered pharmacists, or registering with the state.
Unlike the United States, Canada caps profits pharmaceutical companies can make on drugs sold in their country. That allows Canadian pharmacies to sell prescription drugs for sometimes 50 percent to 75 percent less than American pharmacies.
Vossler, whose store is tucked into a strip mall on Pinebrook Road in Venice, takes health information forms, prescriptions, and credit …