PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
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On September 21st, 2010, Google filed a civil lawsuit in federal court against over 50 defendants for “violating policies and circumventing technological measures“. This action is part of a series of efforts by Google to prevent rogue online pharmacies from advertising in its search marketing program called adWords.

Google’s filing makes it clear that, despite extensive verification procedures, automated keyword blocking, and a dramatic change of ad policies, some illicit rogue sites still manage to bypass Google’s rules. The lawsuit demonstrates that Google is its own final gatekeeper for websites placing ads using pharmaceutical and pharmacy terms, not third party online pharmacy verification companies it uses to help identify online pharmacies that meet safe standards. It also shows that while worked with Google, and as the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program does now, unapproved, rogue pharmacies were and are able to find a way to advertise on Google. In viewing its search marketing platform, we find that Google instituted a technical solution to block rogues back in late January 2010, which has proven quite effective, although apparently, according to Google, not perfect.

The lawsuit does not suggest that all of Google’s online pharmacy advertisers are disreputable, as most are approved by the VIPPS program, which Google currently uses to determine which online pharmacies are allowed to advertise on adWords in the United States. Similar to the Verification Program, the VIPPS program allows its members to publish a verification seal. Consumers can feel most safe when purchasing prescription drugs online that are approved by or VIPPS. However, many consumers are searching online to find relief from the high and sometimes prohibitive cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. and the VIPPS program excludes Canadian and other non-U.S. online pharmacies, as does Google’s U.S. advertising platform. Therefore, consumers will most likely find high-priced online pharmacies, and sometimes even rogue online pharmacies, advertising on Google adWords.

Here’s where is most helpful… only publishes online pharmacy profiles and compares drug prices of those online pharmacies that are approved in its Verification Program. A drug price search on its site cannot result in a consumer falling victim to a rogue online pharmacy, as happens on search engines. And for the uninsured and underinsured, searches on will lead to the lowest-cost, safe and affordable online pharmacies.

When Americans do use Google to find an online pharmacy they should always look for the or VIPPS seals on the online pharmacy site before considering buying their medicine.

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