Google forfeits $500M in drug ads case

File photo. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
File photo. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Google agreed to forfeit $500 million generated from Canadian pharmaceutical advertising directed at U.S. consumers, the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.

Google's AdWords program resulted in the "unlawful importation of controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs into the United States," Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said in a release. The $500 million represents Google's gross revenue through advertising plus gross revenue made by Canadian pharmacies for sales to U.S. consumers, the release said.


International shipments of prescription drugs to U.S. consumers "typically" violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Controlled Substances Act, the department said, adding Google had been aware such shipments were illegal since 2003.

"The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable companies who in their bid for profits violate federal law and put at risk the health and safety of American consumers," Cole said. "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."

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