Google has agreed to pay a $500m to settle a probe into adverts it displayed for Canadian online pharmacies illegally selling prescription drugs into the US.
The settlement, one of the largest ever in the US, represents Google’s revenue from Canadian pharmacy advertisements to US customers through its AdWords programme and Canadian pharmacies’ revenue from US sales.
Google announced in February last year that it would no longer allow Canadian pharmacies to advertise to US customers. It had already set the $500m aside for a possible settlement. A Google spokesman said: “It’s obvious with hindsight that we shouldn’t have allowed these ads on Google in the first place.”
The agreement with the Department of Justice sets compliance and reporting measures which Google must take.