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Rogue Online Pharmacies Sued By Google: What Consumers Need to Know

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. (more…)

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