Big Pharma abusing Google ads?Big Pharma abusing Google ads?
When the topic of Americans buying drugs from Canadian pharmacies comes up, one company whose name is rarely mentioned is Google. That’s odd to me, since (1) Google is such a news magnet, and (2) without Google, far fewer Americans would be buying their prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.
Big Pharma despises Google for explicitly permitting licensed Canadian pharmacies to advertise to U.S. consumers through its AdWords network — a tacit endorsement of cross-border medication sales. For some time now, Big Pharma and its proxies have been waging a secret campaign to force Google to stop allowing Canadian pharmacies to advertise through AdWords.
Google’s AdWords program (working in partnership with PharmacyChecker.com) has been highly effective in screening out rogue pharmacies and not allowing them to use AdWords. You can rest assured that any Canadian pharmacy you see in a Google ad is a legitimate pharmacy licensed by the Canadian government.
But — and this truly is a rich irony — the FDA now says that Big Pharma itself is abusing AdWords.
Google and Canadian Drugs
First, some background. It would be easy enough for Google to say no to ads from online and mail-order pharmacies (it certainly doesn’t need the revenues). But instead, Google chooses to team with a well-respected verification authority, PharmacyChecker.com, to screen pharmacies to ensure that only those licensed by the Canadian government are allowed into the Google ad network.
Since Google’s CEO has campaigned for Democratic candidates, it’s not a stretch to conclude that the company is projecting a public-policy position on the issue of drug reimportation — although I’ve never seen a statement by the company on the issue. Either that, or it could simply be a nod to the Web’s libertarian tradition.
Whatever the case, Big Pharma doesn’t like what Google is doing, and they’re trying to stop it. In today’s pro-reimportation political climate, you might think this effort would be quixotic. However, you should never underestimate the power of Big Pharma money to influence public policy — and to turn the screws on other companies, even one as mighty as Google.
Fortunately, the Google-PharmacyChecker relationship seems solid — and the result, in terms of the quality of online pharmacy advertising on AdWords, speaks for itself.
Big Pharma’s AdWords Deceptions
The same can’t be said for Big Pharma’s own AdWords ads, however.
According to Search Engine Land:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent letters to a number of pharmaceutical manufacturers to alert them that they were in violation of acceptable marketing practices in relation to their paid search marketing campaigns.
The basic gist of the letter is that when these pharmaceutical companies advertise on Google they are a.) not providing the risks associated with the drugs and b.) not including their “established name”…
Hey, Big Pharma — maybe it’s time to stop worrying about Google’s Canadian pharmacy ads, and to start worrying about your own?
Nah, that makes too much sense.