A healthy turn

Ubiquitous web crawler Google will no longer flash ads of unlicensed pharmacies, which have used the Internet to sell millions of doses of narcotics and prescription drugs without medical supervision. The move comes a month after a similar decision by Yahoo Inc and Microsoft's msn site. Is it possible companies have suddenly turned socially responsible?

 
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

Google

Ubiquitous web crawler Google will no longer flash ads of unlicensed pharmacies, which have used the Internet to sell millions of doses of narcotics and prescription drugs without medical supervision. The move comes a month after a similar decision by Yahoo Inc and Microsoft's msn site. Is it possible companies have suddenly turned socially responsible?

Fact is, three us congressional committees, looking into the unregulated sale of highly addictive painkillers, tranquilisers and anti-depressants, have shifted attention from the pharmacies themselves to credit card companies, shippers, banks and legitimate web portals -- all of whom facilitate sales. Unlicensed pharmacies pay search engines like Google and Yahoo to link their advertisements to key words typed in by people. "These legitimate businesses are an important but faceless part of the supply chain for these dangerous drugs," says Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, usa, which has been lobbying the search engines to stop accepting such ads. "If the government is serious, it has to look at these businesses."

Now government has begun doing exactly that with full seriousness, and isn't the turn an instantly healthy one?

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