Google Pharmacy Ad Probe: Larry Page Knew of Illegal Ads

Justice Department investigators probing into illegal online pharmacy ads served via the Google Adwords system revealed this week that company Chief Executive Officer Larry Page knew of the ads for years but did nothing to remove them.

Settling a DOJ criminal probe Google on Wednesday agreed to pay $500 million for ads they had accepted for online Canadian pharmacies selling drugs in the United States.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal Peter Neronha, the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney who led the probe called out Page specifically:

“Larry Page knew what was going on.”

Evidence was found in the form of internal emails and documents which were delivered to Page.

According to the Justice Department the illegal ads were part of Google’s advertising system since 2003 but were not banned until 2009 when the DOJ mounted an undercover operation to stop the ads.

In an email regarding the issue a Google spokesperson wrote:

“As we’ve said, we take responsibility for our actions. With hindsight, we shouldn’t have allowed these ads on Google in the first place.”

The Canadian pharmaceutical ads are not the first to come under fire, recently the DOJ went after weight loss ads which send users to websites meant to look like standard news agencies, tricking users into believing they are buying products which have been accepted by the general media as effective in the fight against losing weight.

Perhaps people wouldn’t keep buying into these ads if U.S. pharmacological company’s didn’t over inflate their prices for U.S. customers, then again that’s probably just me being way to optimistic.