Google, Yahoo! Ban Ads From Unlicensed Pharmacies
Online search portals Google and Yahoo! will prohibit advertisements from unlicensed online pharmacies that sell medications without prescriptions, although they will continue to accept ads from Canadian online pharmacies, the Wall Street Journal Online reports (Bialik, Wall Street Journal Online, 6/4). Google last December announced plans to no longer accept ads from unlicensed online pharmacies that sell narcotics and other prescription drugs without proper medical supervision. Overture Services, which distributes ads to Yahoo! and the Microsoft MSN Web site, announced a similar decision last November (California Healthline, 12/1/03). The new policy announced by Google and Yahoo! applies only to text ads that appear next to online searches that "provide a significant source of revenue for search engines," not search results, the Journal reports. Google and Yahoo! use guidelines developed by SquareTrade to approve online pharmacies that advertise on their sites. However, some state pharmacy boards and online pharmacies maintain that the search portals should use the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites service operated by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The group, which conducts on-site inspections of pharmacies that sell prescription drugs online, has certified 14 companies, all of them based in the Unites States. Peter Pitts, FDA associate commissioner for external affairs, praised the decision by the search portals to ban ads from unlicensed online pharmacies but said that they also should prohibit ads from online Canadian pharmacies (Wall Street Journal Online, 6/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.