Google tightens policy on ads for online pharmacies

Received this interesting tip from medical writer Brian Bujdos:

U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies may see a subtle spike in revenue due to Google’s revised policies that no longer allow Canadian pharmacies, as well as many “rogue” pharmacies to advertise on Google through AdWords. Now, only VIPPS-certified pharmacies (as selected by the National Association of Pharmacy Boards) can advertise on Google. To date, there are only 19 such pharmacies/companies, including Walgreens and

As you may know, AdWords allows any eligible party to purchase key words, and every time that a Google user types in those key words in their search, that party is charged X amount of money to have their paid link appear above, or to the right of, the regular/unpaid search listings.

There are two schools of thought as to why Google is making this change. The first is that the big pharma manufacturers and Google got together and tried to snuff out the “little-guy” online pharmacies. Other people believe that pressure from some mixture of associations, organizations and the government led to the change in Google’s policies – an effort based primarily on “cleaning up” the online pharmacy arena that includes pharmacies that dispense non-FDA approved, potentially harmful medications through sometimes unscrupulous methods.

Either way, U.S. consumers who use Google search are now forced to buy brand-name or generic medications manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical companies. The cheaper medications from Canada and other countries are no longer an option on Google. Other search engines may follow suit. For the complete story, check out the PharmacyChecker blog entry on

March 2, 2010

9 thoughts on “Google tightens policy on ads for online pharmacies”

  1. As a pharmacist that has practiced both in community and online pharmacies I commend Google for increasing restrictions – many online pharmacies are not legit, secure, or SAFE. For the BEST care for medicines use, please see your pharmacist in person (and definitely not self diagnose as implied by easyhealthMD)

  2. “Either way, U.S. consumers who use Google search are now forced to buy brand-name or generic medications manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical companies.”

    That statement isn’t correct. The only thing that changes is that the the yellow-highlighted advertisements at the top of the search results will no longer be populated by Canadian drug pharmacies. These pharmacies will still show up in the results underneath any other Google Adwords advertisements. This policy only affects ADVERTISEMENTS….not the SEARCH RESULTS.

  3. I agree with Chris. Paid search results are only a part of the picture. We have a story about this on our blog, as well. <a href=""

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