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GOOGLE to Pay $500M to Settle DOJ Pharma Ads Charges – PCWorld

August 24, 2011

Google to Pay $500M to Settle DOJ Pharma Ads Charges

By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News

Google has agreed to pay US$500 million to settle allegations from the U.S. government that it let online pharmacies in Canada use its AdWords system to advertise prescription drugs to U.S. consumers, resulting in illegal importation of the medicines into the U.S.

“The forfeiture, one of the largest ever in the United States, represents the gross revenue received by Google as a result of Canadian pharmacies advertising through Google’s AdWords program, plus gross revenue made by Canadian pharmacies from their sales to U.S. consumers,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the DOJ, Google became aware as early as 2003 that the shipment of prescription drugs from abroad, and specifically from Canada, to U.S. residents is usually illegal, potentially violating several statutes, including the Controlled Substances Act, and endangering the health and safety of consumers. Yet, Google didn’t attempt to modify its practices until 2009, after it became aware that it was being investigated by the U.S. government, the DOJ said.

“While Canada has its own regulatory rules for prescription drugs, Canadian pharmacies that ship prescription drugs to U.S. residents are not subject to Canadian regulatory authority, and many sell drugs obtained from countries other than Canada which lack adequate pharmacy regulations,” the DOJ statement reads.

In response, Google said that it stopped selling ad space to Canadian pharmacies “some time ago.”

via Google to Pay $500M to Settle DOJ Pharma Ads Charges | PCWorld Business Center.

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