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Tech giant to settle Canadian drug charges with $500m payment

The innovative internet advertising strategy of tech giant Google ( GOOG ) ended up costing it $500 million in legal fines, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Canadian pharmacies circumvented international law restricting the sale of controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs via AdWords programming to narrowcast advertising toward U.S. customers. When the prescription drugs entered the U.S. from Canada, the shipments violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Controlled medications violated the Controlled Substances Act.

"We banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the U.S. by Canadian pharmacies some time ago," a Google statement reads, according to Information Week. "However, it's obvious with hindsight that we shouldn't have allowed these ads on Google in the first place. Given the extensive coverage this settlement has already received, we won't be commenting further."

But the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Rhode Island said the Mountain View, California-based company was cognizant of laws prohibiting Canadian pharmacies from shipping medication to the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration is unable to ensure the drugs' safety and effectiveness, according to the USAO.

The probe circled around "the patently unsafe, unlawful, importation of prescription drugs by Canadian on-line pharmacies, with Google's knowledge and assistance, into the United States," U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha said in a statement.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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