AMERICAN FORK — To the shock of customers holding empty prescription pill bottles, a business that helps patients obtain medicines from Canada suddenly and quietly closed its doors.
Meds Direct Plus this month shuttered stores in Provo and American Fork. Phones also were disconnected at the Provo store, making it difficult, if not impossible, for some customers to find out the status of medication orders.
Paul Peterson, who owns the building where Meds Direct Plus operated its American Fork store, also has not been able to contact store owner Eric VanBrakel.
Peterson three weeks ago changed the locks on the store's doors because he says rent payments were missed.
He left a note on the door telling VanBrakel to call him to arrangement payment or be let inside to collect any remaining property.
Phone calls to the American Fork business go to voice mail service — but the automated service says messages cannot be left because the mailbox is full.
One customer told the Deseret Morning News he paid $900 for medicines he hasn't received. He's waited for two weeks and he still does not have his medication.
Meds Direct Plus representatives did not return Deseret Morning News phone calls for comment or could not be contacted.
The Utah Department of Commerce issued a cease-and-desist order against the store in June 2003. VanBrakel said then that the store was not a pharmacy, making it exempt from licensing regulations. Pharmacies cannot import drugs from Canada.