Google to pay $250 million to fight illegal online pharmacies

August 9, 2014
The Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California on September 2, 2011

Google has agreed in a court settlement to spend at least $250 million over the next five years to help fight illegal online pharmacies selling to US customers, documents showed Friday.

The US Internet search giant made the commitment in settling a lawsuit from shareholders alleging Google failed to take adequate measures to prevent foreign from using its .

The lawsuit was filed in 2011 after Google paid a $500 million settlement to the US government over charges it sold advertisements to Canada-based online pharmacies which marketed drugs to Americans in violation of US law.

In a settlement filed in federal court in California, Google agreed to spend at least $50 million per year in each of the coming five years on "product quality operations, policy enforcement, and user safety initiative" to prevent the ads from appearing.

Google said its audit committee would set up a plan "to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and regulations" and to prevent the advertising of pharmaceuticals and supplements which violate the law running through its AdWords platform.

In the settlement with the US government, authorities said the online pharmacies from Canada used Google's Adwords programs, which deliver ads based on a user's browsing history and search queries, from 2003 to 2009.

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4 comments

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Shakescene21
4 / 5 (4) Aug 09, 2014
Another big victory for Big Pharma. Americans pay far higher prices for prescription drugs than Canadians do. Big Pharma likes big prices, and will do anything it can to keep shearing American sheep.

The really sad part of this is that Big Pharma can use the US Government as its enforcer, allegedly to "protect" Americans from those Canadian pharmaceuticals which might be unsafe.
EyeNStein
5 / 5 (2) Aug 09, 2014
I hope Canada takes exception to USA interference with "www.google.ca" and makes sure their data is held on Canadian soil.
Canadian advertising is managed by google in Toronto not Washington DC.
Egleton
not rated yet Aug 09, 2014
"Illegal" does not imply immoral.
There exists an inverse correlation.
The more legal something becomes the less moral it becomes.
Time to choose sides Google.
Which do you choose, legal or moral?

Note: Mass gas oven executions were legal in Nazi Germany.
alfie_null
not rated yet Aug 10, 2014
Wish someone'd do something to make it illegal for pharma to market to consumers. And really reign in practices practices employed by pharma in their relations (e.g. free samples, etc.) with physicians. Maybe get the IRS involved. All their interminable ads about stuff that will fix my erection problems and such. While people all around are dying from cancer and other incurable and unprofitable diseases.

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