Today the New York Times reported that Google is setting aside $500 million to settle what is apparently an investigation into whether it knowingly allowed rogue online pharmacies to advertise in its ad programs. We at PharmacyChecker.com are mentioned in this article because from the summer of 2006 until February 2010, Google’s stated policy was that its pharmacy advertisers had to be approved by PharmacyChecker.com, meeting our high standards. Unfortunately, as we have previously reported, rogue online pharmacies that never applied to our program found a way to advertise on Google. We were never the gatekeepers for Google; that remained their job.
In February of 2010, likely due to pressure from the government investigation and perhaps the pharmaceutical industry, Google changed its policy to exclude all non-U.S. online pharmacies from advertising on Google in the United States. It stopped working with us, as we do not exclude reputable and safe Canadian and other international pharmacies. Google began working with the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS) program, run by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, a program that is only open to U.S. pharmacies. After this change, rogue online pharmacies apparently continued to advertise on Google. In November of last year, to take a stronger stance against rogue online pharmacies, Google filed a lawsuit against rogue online pharmacies, holding them liable for violating its advertising policies.
It appears that the gate through which advertisers enter Google has swung from too open, allowing in pharmacies never approved by us or others, to now just open a crack, where many good pharmacies offering good prices can’t get in. The $500 million allocated for a settlement is probably going to keep that door nearly closed for a while, but we hope that it will eventually swing to a place where rogues are kept out and good players get in. In the meantime, we remain diligently checking and monitoring online pharmacies. You can find them on our ratings pages and you can check their prices too.Tagged with: Google, investigation, rogue online pharmacies