Google Settles Another Lawsuit Regarding Illegal Drug Sales

Google has settled a lawsuit initiated by three of its shareholders, with the creation of a $250 million internal program to prevent non-US pharmaceutical companies from advertising the sale of prescription drugs to US citizens.


drugsThe lawsuit was filed in 2011, five days after Google reached a settlement of $500 million in another claim, the result of an action instituted by the U.S. Justice Department which alleged that the search engine giant accepted advertisements from Canadian pharmacies which sold prescription drugs illegally within the US.

The 2011 lawsuit marked the first time in history that a search engine was held responsible for illegal drug distribution. Google was accused of contributing to America’s “pill problem” which endangered people’s health and security. The settlement of $500 million represented Google’s gross revenues for illegal drug sales and advertising by Canadian companies and was described as one of the largest forfeitures in history. Part of the sum went to legal enforcement to further investigate the matter. Google was caught out when investigators created seven undercover websites to sell prescription drugs without even requiring customers to fill in online medical questionnaires. These websites applied for ad campaigns with Google and despite this knowledge, Google approved the campaigns.

The claim which was settled earlier this month began as three separate lawsuits in 2011, from three of Google’s shareholders, who later merged their claims into one litigation proceeding. Google agreed to spend $50 million annually on the program for five years, and will also pay $9.9 million dollars in legal fees to the plaintiff attorneys. The program will include Google’s correspondence with legitimate US pharmacies and the company promised to create awareness for drug abuse by making content which relates to scams and drug issues more visible on the search engine.

Although no criminal charges were filed against the Fortune 100 Company which was able to buy its way out of both lawsuits, both rulings mark a step forward in increased safety for users of the search engine and Google’s other services. The decisions may be disturbing because they’re another instance in which money wins but at least the rulings and terms are an indicator that Google is taking our safety as well as legal matters into consideration.

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