States want Google to remove ads from websites selling illegal Rxs

August 5, 2013

The top law enforcement officials in two states have asked Google to remove video ads from YouTube that promote rogue websites for medications, including those featuring “no prescription required” products.

The top law enforcement officials in two states have asked Google to remove video ads from YouTube that promote rogue websites for medications, including those featuring “no prescription required” products.

“We and many of our colleagues were deeply concerned to learn of Google’s financial partnership with the posters of these videos. Several attorneys general have expressed great concern regarding the prominent appearance of websites advertising counterfeit and pirated merchandise and illegal prescription drugs in results generated by Goggle’s search engines,” Jon Bruning, Nebraska Attorney General, and Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General, wrote in the letter to Google.

Some of the YouTube videos, partially monetized by Google, depict and promote dangerous or illegal activities, according to Bruning and Pruitt. For example, YouTube features videos produced by foreign pharmacies promoting the sale of oxycontin and Percocet without a prescription. There are also videos promoting the sale of counterfeit merchandise with sidebar ads for weight loss. “It is our understanding that Google and the video poster share in the profits from this advertising revenue,” they wrote.

After several states expressed concern to Google about the prominent appearance of websites advertising pirated and counterfeit merchandise and illegal prescription drugs in its search results, Google attempted to alleviate the concerns. Google emphasized its commitment to “stopping the problems of online pharmacy advertising at the source…[and providing] criminal referrals to law enforcement in the U.S. regarding rogue pharmacies that have attempted to abuse our systems,” Google said.

Hovever, Bruning and Pruitt said Goggle’s commitment “is not consistent with Google receiving advertising revenue from content that promotes illegal conduct.”