Which online pharmacy ads can you trust?Computerworld posted an interesting story today on how fly-by-night advertising companies are working with spammers to place text-link ads (like the Google AdWords ads you see on the right-hand side of the page when you run a Google search) on the Web sites of bloggers.

One reason these companies are working to get their ads placed directly on bloggers’ sites is that, in many cases, Google won’t accept them because they don’t meet its standards. It doesn’t surprise me that some of the advertisers referenced in the Computerworld piece were online pharmacies.

You see, Google has strict guidelines for the advertising it will accept from online pharmacies. As
the company’s advertising policy states:

Google AdWords requires all online pharmacy advertisers and affiliates in the U.S. and Canada to be members of the PharmacyChecker Licensed Pharmacy Program. Additionally, ad campaigns for prescription drugs can only target the U.S., U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands), and/or Canada; these ads will not be displayed in other countries. To be fair to all of our pharmacy advertisers, we make no exceptions. If you aren’t granted a PharmacyChecker ID, we won’t be able to run your ads.

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Like Google, eDrugSearch.com only accepts licensed Canadian pharmacies that are approved by PharmacyChecker. We ensure that member pharmacies have been properly licensed by their provincial or state governments.

The fly-by-night online pharmacies are shut out of Google (as well as the Yahoo! and Microsoft ad networks, which have similar policies), so they advertise by whatever means they can — by sending you spam e-mails, tricking bloggers into running their ads on their sites, and in 100 other nefarious ways.

If an online pharmacy’s ad is approved by Google, you can be pretty confident the pharmacy is OK. If it’s not, be wary.