Google is taking what it calls “rogue pharmacies” to court in an attempt to prevent them from continuing to advertise on Google. In today’s announcement, Google says it has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court “against advertisers we believe have deliberately broken our rules.”
Google positions the lawsuit as an almost last resort:
Like many online services, we have struggled with this problem for years. It’s been an ongoing, escalating cat-and-mouse game—as we and others build new safeguards and guidelines, rogue online pharmacies always try new tactics to get around those protections and illegally sell drugs on the web. In recent years, we have noticed a marked increase in the number of rogue pharmacies, as well an increasing sophistication in their methods. This has meant that despite our best efforts—from extensive verification procedures, to automated keyword blocking, to changing our ads policies—a small percentage of pharma ads from these rogue companies is still appearing on Google.
Google says it will add additional advertisers to the lawsuit as it identifies them.