Google Close to Paying $500m Fine over Online Pharma Ads

Google has been in hot water for quite some time now thanks to the location tracking fiasco. But now it is in a court battle which could prove to be very expensive for the Internet search giant.

Its a bitter pill

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is now in the dock for accepting ads from online pharmacies. The investigation revealed that Google accepted ads from various online pharmacies from Canada and other countries. For those unaware, online pharmacy websites often sell prescription drugs without legitimate prescriptions. The medicines sold are often counterfeit or expired and can severely affect the patient’s health.

The ads in question were part of the Adwords marketing platform, where Google would charge advertisers a small amount every time a user clicked on the ads. The report further adds that Google has submitted a regulatory filing which indicated it was setting aside $500 million to resolve a case with the Justice Department. Details on said case were not given, however.

Google has made quite a bit of money from Adwords, but what is not yet known is for how long Google knew that online pharma ads broke US laws and yet did nothing to prevent it.