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9:26 am
Wed August 24, 2011

Google fined $500 million for online drugs

PROVIDENCE, RI – The U.S. Attorney's office in the smallest state in the country has secured one of the largest financial settlements in American history. Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha says Google has agreed to pay a $500 million settlement for allowing pharmacies claiming to be Canadian to advertise prescription drugs to U.S. consumers. Neronha says prescription drugs cannot be sold to Americans without FDA approval.

"The drugs that these Canadian online pharmacies import into the United States are for the most part not even from Canada," Neronha told reporters with two dozen federal, state and local officials flanking him. "FDA seizures have revealed that the vast majority of these drugs are counterfeit and have their origins in many countries other than Canada."

Neronha says most of these pharmacies do not even require a prescription but authorize the drug after an online "consultation." Rhode Island handled the prosecution because of a tip it received in 2006 arising from an unrelated case.

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