Google to Pay $500 Million in FDA Investigation of Pharmacy Ads Settlement
August 25, 2011 9:50 AM
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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
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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See no evil?
8/28/2011 5:48:54 AM
From the Wall Street Journal
Behind Google Inc.'s decision this week to settle a U.S. criminal probe into ads it carried for unlicensed online pharmacies lies a previously undisclosed factor: Justice Department investigators believed company co-founder Larry Page knew of, and allowed, the ads for years.
Sorting through more than four million documents, prosecutors found internal emails and documents that, they say, show Mr. Page was aware of the allegedly illicit ad sales. Under this week's $500 million settlement, those emails won't be released, avoiding the possibility of disclosure at trial.
"Larry Page knew what was going on," Peter Neronha, the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney
"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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