The Partnership for Safe Medicines
Weekly UpdateSeptember 27, 2010
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Google AdWords Used by Rogue Pharmacies

Google has filed a civil action in Federal Court against fifty-two individuals alleged to have violated the terms of AdWords to promote fraudulent drug sales.

Partnership for Safe Medicines received a copy of the complaint filed September 21, 2010 in Federal Court in San Jose, CA, in which Google "seeks to stop rogue online pharmaceutical sellers" from using Google's AdWords advertising network. Two defendants, Omar Jackman and John Doe "Simon" were named, and 50 others are "individuals whose true identities and locations are unknown."

Google states in the complaint that "Google prohibits the promotion of online pharmacies and prescription drugs except under specific circumstances. Google allows ads targeting the United States to promote online pharmacy websites only if the advertised website is verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites ("VIPPS") program. VIPPS is a third-party verification program with stringent criteria to ensure that the website complies with applicable laws regarding the handling, sale and shipping of prescription drugs."

Google went on to say that, "Some advertisers have circumvented Google's policies and practices, Google's third-party certification requirements, and Google's efforts to identify and remove offending ads. Rogue advertisers also have defied Google's prohibition on the use of prescription-drug-related keywords by non-approved advertisers."

The defendants are not verified by VIPPS. In order to run their advertisements, they circumvented technological measures the company uses to enforce its policies.

Google is seeking $75,000 in damages. It claims that the rogue pharmacies have caused the company to create software to unearth the violators of AdWords Terms and Conditions.

Top News

Florida Home to Questionable Pharmacies Selling Pain Killers Online

For people who have difficulty getting the prescription drug of choice from their doctor there's always the Internet. Today, most Internet drug shops have moved offshore, largely because of a 2008 federal law that requires at least one face-to-face physical exam by a doctor. But Florida's virtual drug business lives on, thanks to the physicians who have fueled it. An investigation of nearly 200 Florida doctors who have come to regulators' attention for illegitimately prescribing federally controlled drugs found that 10 percent had prescribed over the Internet and several of those doctors are still licensed to practice. Additionally, some providers such as Ist Choice Meds are willing to set up appointments with a traveling doctor for a fee of $275 for the exam and $99 each for subsequent phone calls to the doctor for refills. According to Dr. Allan Escher, a member of the state board that regulates osteopathic physicians, such a setup is a bad idea and patients who need care should talk to a local physician. "Going to a pain clinic because they advertise, have a flashy website or 800 number is probably the worst thing you could do,'' he said. ("Florida is home to shadowy industry supplying narcotics over the Internet," St Petersburg Times, September 27, 2010; Story here)

World News

Russia: Government Cracks Down on Counterfeit Drugs


Russia announced that it will join the ongoing international police operation to fight fake medicines, says the Chief of the National Central Office of the Interpol with the Russian Interior Ministry, Timur Lakhonin. According to the announcement, there are some 1,200 Websites currently offer counterfeit drugs. The most dangerous drugs offered by this illegitimate market include all sorts of fake antibiotics, contraceptives, steroids and preparations for losing weight, General Lakhonin pointed out. ("Russia joins fight against fake medicines," Voice of Russia, September 27, 2010; Story here)



Uganda: Government Sets Up Police Desks to Fight Counterfeit Drugs

Police officials in the landlocked African Nation of Uganda are setting up anti-narcotics desks at all of the police stations around the country in an effort to fight the problem of counterfeit drugs. Inspector general of Police Kale Kayihura told the New Vision that the desks are being set up to combat the rising number of counterfeit drugs being sold at pharmacies around the country. Each of the more than 200 anti-narcotics desks will have a toll-free line that the public can use to inform police about potentially nefarious activities. Kayihura has worked hard in the past to protect Uganda from counterfeit drugs and has spared nothing when it comes to describing the devastating effects that fake medications can have on a country. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, September 22, 2010; Link here)


PSM's Inaugural 2010 Interchange

When: Friday, Oct 8, 2010
Where: Washington, D.C

PSM InterchangeThe Partnership for Safe Medicines invites you to save the date for an intimate conference bringing together patient groups, providers, pharmaceutical company quality experts, enforcement personnel, policymakers, regulatory agency experts and other interested parties to discuss key issues around counterfeit drugs and other unsafe medicines.
Register Now
About the Partnership for Safe Medicines
The Partnership for Safe Medicines is a group of organizations and individuals that have policies, procedures, or programs to protect consumers from counterfeit or contraband medicines. For more information, please visit