A national group of state attorneys general have taken Google to task over what they say amounts to aiding drug dealers online. According to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who chairs the National Association of Attorneys General, Google, a search company, allows advertisements and YouTube videos for sellers of counterfeit drugs and dangerous but legal drugs. These include drugs like Adderall and Oxycontin, which can be obtained without prescriptions. Google has responded in a statement, saying:
We take the safety of our users very seriously and we’ve explained to Attorney General Hood how we enforce policies to combat rogue online pharmacies and counterfeit drugs. In the last two years, we’ve removed more than 3 million ads for illegal pharmacies, and we routinely remove videos that are flagged for violating YouTube’s Guidelines regarding dangerous or illegal content.
Google paid out one of the largest fines on record a few years ago to end a drug-related case with the government. In 2011, Google ended up paying out $500 million to the U.S. Department of Justice. This huge fee was punishment for Google AdWords sales for controlled and non-controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies. This is what Google said in a statement about that settlement:
We banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the U.S. by Canadian pharmacies some time ago. However, it’s obvious with hindsight that we shouldn’t have allowed these ads on Google in the first place.
If Google is doing what Attorney General Hood says it is doing, they should again be taken to task. We will continue to monitor this matter.
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