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This article was published on July 1, 2011


Google reportedly facing illegal drug ads investigation

Google reportedly facing illegal drug ads investigation
Martin Bryant
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Martin Bryant

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Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

According to a report today from CNN, Google is facing a fine which could be in excess of $500m after a federal investigation into pharmaceutical ads carried by the search firm.

Prosecutors in Rhode Island and undercover agents from the Food and Drug Administration are said to be attempting to prove that Google knowingly carried ads for websites selling highly addictive drugs without a legitimate prescription.

CNN goes on to report that in May, Google notified the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was setting aside $500m in connection to a case with the Department of Justice related to “The use of Google advertising by certain advertisers.”

Google’s self-service AdWords platform leaves it open to potentially carrying advertising for illegal products and services, and legal experts reportedly told CNN that a $500m+ fine would be “the largest such penalty in U.S. history.” However, both the U.S. Attorney’s office in Providence, Rhode Island and Google declined to confirm the existence of the Google declined comment or confirm the investigation’s existence.