DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

Summary: Google settles with the Department of Justice for $500 million for enabling Canadian pharmacies to target U.S. consumers.

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TOPICS: Apps, Google
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The U.S. Department of Justice said Wednesday that Google will forfeit $500 million in AdWords proceeds related to online Canadian pharmacies.

In a statement, the DOJ said Google's forfeiture was the largest by a U.S. company.

Specifically, Google is forfeiting $500 million in gross revenue related to Canadian pharmacies selling their wares to U.S. consumers.

The shipment of prescription drugs from outside the U.S. to consumers is against the law. The DOJ said:

Google was aware as early as 2003, that generally, it was illegal for pharmacies to ship controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs into the United States from Canada.

U.S. consumers go to Canadian pharmacies because they are a less expensive way to get U.S. prescription drugs. The DOJ argues that procuring drugs from Canadian pharmacies is against the law because they skirt Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations as well as Canada's regulators.

The Deputy Attorney General James Cole said:

"This settlement ensures that Google will reform its improper advertising practices with regard to these pharmacies while paying one of the largest financial forfeiture penalties in history."

The DOJ said that Google knew it was on notice about Canadian pharmacies using AdWords. The DOJ added:

Although Google took steps to block pharmacies in countries other than Canada from advertising in the U.S. through AdWords, they continued to allow Canadian pharmacy advertisers to target consumers in the United States. Google was aware that U.S. consumers were making online purchases of prescription drugs from these Canadian online pharmacies, and that many of the pharmacies distributed prescription drugs, including controlled prescription drugs, based on an online consultation rather than a valid prescription from a treating medical practitioner. Google was also on notice that many pharmacies accepting an online consultation rather than a prescription charged a premium for doing so because individuals seeking to obtain prescription drugs without a valid prescription were willing to pay higher prices for the drugs.

Further, from 2003 through 2009, Google provided customer support to some of these Canadian online pharmacy advertisers to assist them in placing and optimizing their AdWords advertisements, and in improving the effectiveness of their websites.

In 2009, when it was clear that Google was being investigated by Rhode Island and the FDA, it moved to clamp down on Canadian pharmacies to verify advertisers were legit.

Under the settlement agreement, Google acknowledges that it assisted Canadian online pharmacies and is responsible for its conduct. Google will also submit to "compliance and reporting measures" to ensure that it is keeping up with what is required by the DOJ.

Topics: Apps, Google

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158 comments
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  • the nazis at DOJ

    are shaking Google and harming the American consumer.
    The Linux Geek
    • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

      @The Linux Geek Hey you are back !! :)
      1773
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @1773
        Have you missed me?
        God told me last night to start fighting against the evil again.
        The Linux Geek
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @The Linux Geek Ofcourse I missed the resident jester. Thanks for the good laugh !!
        1773
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        Linux Geek, does God always tell you to wage war against yourself? ;
        nkfro
    • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

      @The Linux Geek
      um freetard, what is the name of someone who willingly breaks the law?
      Stan57
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Stan57 "Politician"
        mist42nz
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Stan57 "Free citizen."
        Techknowledgie
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Stan57 What is the name of someone who corrupts the political process and abuses power in order to protect their business from competition (DEA comes to mind here, too)?
        Techknowledgie
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Stan57

        President...
        Whassupwidat
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Stan57
        Chinese dissidents break the law too when they view 'inappropriate' content.
        If the law is corrupt and oppressive a real patriot would not enforce it... not the case for Barry and its cronies!
        The Linux Geek
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Stan57 I don't know, but I know you are a JERK
        Loulou50001
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Stan57

        "criminal"?
        spdragoo@...
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Stan57
        A patriot? Washington, Jefferson, Patrick Henry ...
        What do you call the kind of government that makes rules that are arbitrary and against the will of the people?
        bwithnell
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Stan57 ... Linux Geek
        tom@...
    • We have a WINNER!!!!

      @The Linux Geek

      Godwin's law in 1. Darn that is impressive. Original! NOT!!!

      Good to see you supporting evil again.
      Bruizer
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Bruizer why dont you shut your F$$k up. who do you think is evil?
        tejainece
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @Bruizer who do you think is evil? the world's best company ever, google???? you must be kidding yourself or must be a m$uckz or app-f$$k-le fan tranny
        tejainece
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        @tejainece

        Wow... do you eat with those fingers?
        Hallowed are the Ori
      • RE: DOJ: Google coughs up $500 million over Canadian pharmacy ads

        tejainece, if you had been paying attention, you'd have realized that Linux Geek that said God told him to start fighting the evil again. Bruizer did not say some company was evil. He was playing around with Linux Geek's mind.
        Until your reading comprehension improves, you might want before speaking.
        nkfro