Google’s War on Rogue Pharmacies

October 20th, 2010 | Sources: Wall Street Journal

Subjects:

Recently, search giant Google filed a lawsuit attempting to prevent what it describes as “rogue online pharmacies” from posting ads alongside its search results and websites.

The complaint was filed in a US District Court. In it, Google claims that an unidentified individual and 50 other defendants “violated policies and circumvented technological measures” when they used its online-ad program, Adwords, to promote prescription-drug operations and pharmacies that had not been approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

By doing that, Google claims, the defendants violated their contracts. Google prohibits sites from distributing prescription drugs unless the distributors meet certain criteria, one of which includes verification by the NABP.

Google’s action is just the latest step in the company’s escalating cat-and-mouse game against rogue pharmacies. Every time the company creates new safeguards and guidelines to prevent their activities, the culprits devise more sophisticated methods to circumvent the protections.

Google’s lawsuit was filed the same day that Web address provider eNom Inc. announced a deal to collaborate with the Internet pharmacy verication company LegitScript, to identify and ban Web sites that host illegal online pharmacies.

“Rogue pharmacies are bad for our users, for legitimate online pharmacies and for the entire e-commerce industry—so we are going to keep investing time and money to stop these kinds of harmful practices,” wrote Google lawyer Michael Zwibelman on the company’s blog recently.

“We work hard to make sure that ads shown on Google provide useful information for our users. But sometimes we need to take action against ads that violate our policies. This is especially true when it comes to advertising for products such as pharmaceuticals, which can be dangerous without the right prescription.”


 

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