Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has settled with the U.S. Justice Department for $500 million to avoid prosecution on charges that they knowingly accepted millions of dollars in illegal ads from online Canadian pharmacies. Google said that they banned the advertising of prescription drugs by Canadian pharmacies in the U.S. “some time ago,” but “it’s obvious with hindsight that we shouldn’t have allowed these ads on Google in the first place,” said the company.
The illegal ads could have put American consumers at risk of buying prescription drugs that were mislabeled or tainted. The $500 million that Google paid is the sum represented by both the illicit revenue earned by Google from the ads and the money earned by the Canadian pharmacies from sales to U.S. consumers.
“The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable companies who in their bid for profits violate federal law and put at risk the health and safety of American consumers,” stated James Cole, deputy attorney general.