Google Online Prescription Drug Case: Search Behemoth Ordered To Hand Over Documents
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge has given Google Inc. until April 9 to give a pension fund investors company documents involving what authorities said was the illegal online marketing of prescription drugs to U.S. consumers by Canadian pharmacies.
The judge entered the order Wednesday in a complaint filed by the DeKalb County Pension Fund. Fund attorneys said they want to see corporate records after Google agreed last year to forfeit $500 million following a U.S. government investigation.
The settlement allowed the Internet search leader to avoid criminal prosecution for allegations it improperly profited from ads promoting Canadian pharmacies that marked drugs to U.S. consumers.
The judge's order covers all documents presented to Google board members about Canadian pharmacies using Google's AdWords advertising program from January 2003 to Sept. 12, 2011.
Google said Thursday it had no comment on the judge's order.
Shipping prescription drugs into the U.S. is illegal, investigators have said.
Previously, Google has said it banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the U.S. by Canadian pharmacies and that it should have never allowed certain ads. In 2010, Google announced new restrictions for online pharmacies seeking to advertise with AdWords.
Businesses using AdWords select keywords for advertising. When people search on Google using a business's keyword, that ad may appear next to the search results.