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Name and title: Alesia L. Pinney, vice president, general counsel, chief privacy officer and secretary Age: 40 The company: Drugstore.com Inc. is the leading online drugstore and health information site. Based in Bellevue, Wash., with a Swedesboro, N.J., distribution center, it has dispensed 2.3 million prescriptions to 5 million customers in all 50 states. Besides pharmaceuticals, Drugstore.com offers health, beauty and personal care products, low-carbohydrate items, buying guides and even pet care goods. Opened for business in February 1999, the online apothecary has 640 employees and, for fiscal 2003, reported $245.7 million in sales. Rogue pharmacies: Drugstore.com is locked in combat with illegal online pharmacies that, Pinney claimed, may be providing customers with products that are expired, diluted, contaminated or even counterfeited. She points out that Drugstore.com would be violating the law if it opened a Canadian pharmacy and shipped to the United States, and demands a level playing field with the outlaw pharmacies, which do just that. Pinney, through lobbyists, seeks regulation and uniform certification standards for all online pharmacies and wants search engines to bar those that don’t meet government-approved requirements. She takes a middle ground on whether or not drug reimportation should be allowed, but says that laws must be equitable for sellers and provide safety for consumers. Of 451 online pharmaceutical sites recently analyzed by Drugstore.com, only 13 had been certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), 84 operated offshore with procedures not vetted by the NABP, 271 ignored American Medical Association rules by not demanding a prescription ahead of time and 47 flouted the law by not requiring prescriptions at all. The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 is also a focus of Pinney, who said, “We are in favor of any legitimate method that allows people to get prescription drugs for a lower price.” Drugstore.com has created a comparison-shopping tool for consumers and offers a $30 credit to the expected 7 million Americans who will purchase the Medicare Discount Card. ‘An absolute generalist’: Pinney’s areas of expertise also include contracts, intellectual property, products liability, employment and labor law. She has been instrumental in strategic corporate investments and agreements, among them a 10-year pact with Rite Aid Corp. and the $56 million purchase of International Vision Direct Corp. She established partnerships with health expert Andrew Weil and sex educator Laura Berman. Pinney designed and manages Drugstore.com’s equity-based compensation programs and its customers’ flexible spending accounts and royalty schemes. She also purchases pharmacy malpractice insurance to augment the normal corporate policies. Pinney works in concert with the Drug Enforcement Administration, adhering to its monthly reporting requirements. Pharmaceuticals such as those containing pseudoephedrine (which can be turned into methamphetamine) must be monitored closely. Drugstore.com ships hazardous materials, including flammables, combustibles and injectables, so it follows a stringent handling protocol. Pinney therefore conducts regular training classes for distribution center employees. Pinney also interacts with the NABP, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Legal proceedings: Drugstore.com is plagued by e-mails that appear to be its own, but actually originate from rogue pharmacies. Pinney combines with Internet service providers to thwart them, but stresses the difficulty in tracking down the culprits. The firm is a defendant in class action initial public offering (IPO) allocation cases filed on July 6, 2001, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Eight shareholder suits claim violations of various sections of securities acts as they pertain to Drugstore.com’s initial and secondary public offerings. The company anticipates that insurance will negate any potential payouts. It is also targeted in suits by Arlington Contact Lens Service of Ohio and subsidiaries of Vision Direct, which claim breach of contract or unfair use by Drugstore.com of pop-up advertising on their own sites. Legal team: “Our department touches, and helps to refine and define, every piece of the business of Drugstore.com,” Pinney said. She shares the burden with another lawyer, a paralegal and eight student interns, and reports to Kal Raman, the company’s president and CEO. Pinney estimates that 75% of the legal load is undertaken in-house. When seeking outside counsel, most often for corporate work, she partners with New York-based Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. She also receives advice from specialists in pharmacy law, hazardous materials and patent issues. Route to the top: Pinney is a 20-year legal and finance veteran. After graduating with an accounting degree from Seattle University, she worked as a certified public accountant in Deloitte & Touche’s Denver office from 1985 to 1989. She received a master’s degree in 1989 from the University of Denver College of Law and a 1991 J.D. degree from the University of Puget Sound Law School. Before entering private practice, Pinney served for two years in the U.S. Tax Court as a law clerk to then Chief Judge Lapsley W. Hamblen Jr. From 1993 to 1998, she worked at Seattle’s Bogle & Gates (now dissolved) and Perkins Coie. She handled mergers and acquisitions, managed due diligence and did federal tax analysis, corporate finance and Employee Retirement Income Security Act work. During this period, Pinney was a legal team leader on several IPOs, including one for Amazon.com. From July to December 1997, she also acted as senior corporate counsel for Seattle’s RealNetworks Inc., managing a $43 million IPO, and assisting on negotiations for a joint venture with Microsoft Corp. She has been with Drugstore.com since its inception, joining the firm in January 1999 as assistant general counsel and secretary. Personal: Pinney, a native of Seattle, is married to Jack Brown and is the mother of Keathley, 3, and Jon, 18 months. She is a yoga enthusiast whose other hobbies have become “mostly what the kids do.” Last book and movie: The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood, and Best In Show.

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