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  (Source: blogspot.com)
The Department of Justice stated that Google was aware that these ads were illegal since as early as 2003

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an investigation against Google in 2009 regarding whether the search leader knowingly accepted pharmacy ads online that were illegal. But Google is now paying a hefty sum in order to settle these allegations.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), shipping prescriptions to the United States from outside of the country is "generally illegal" because they are not FDA-approved for safety. The DOJ stated that Google was aware of this since as early as 2003, concluding that it knowingly accepted these pharmacy ads.

Only when the FDA investigation began in 2009 did Google make an effort to put a stop to the unlawful drug sales, said the DOJ. Google began accepting U.S. Canadian ads from certified pharmacies only at that point, and in 2010, it joined Microsoft and Yahoo as well as others in developing a nonprofit organization for the fight against illegal Internet pharmacies.

In May 2011, Google said it was setting aside $500 million USD for antitrust settlements, and now, that's exactly the amount it is paying to settle these FDA-related allegations.

"We banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the U.S. by Canadian pharmacies some time ago," said Google in a statement. "However, it's obvious with hindsight that we shouldn't have allowed these ads on Google in the first place."

The DOJ said that along with the $500 million payment would be "a number of compliance and reporting measures" as well.

"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," said Deputy Attorney General James Cole.




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