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Top Google Executives Approved Illegal Drug Ads

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the regulations-trump-free-choice dept.

Businesses 287

Hugh Pickens writes "PC Magazine reports that the U.S. government used convicted con artist David Whitaker, owner of an online business selling steroids and human growth hormone to U.S. consumers, to help federal agents in a sting operation against Google when he began advertising with Google with advertisements that included the statement 'no prescription needed,' clearly violating U.S. laws. Google's settlement with the U.S. government for $500 million blamed AdWords sales by Canadian pharmacies, who allegedly were selling drugs to U.S. consumers. 'We banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the U.S. by Canadian pharmacies some time ago,' Google said then. 'However, it's obvious with hindsight that we shouldn't have allowed these ads on Google in the first place.' Peter Neronha, the U.S. attorney for Rhode Island who led the multiagency federal task force that conducted the sting, claims that chief executive Larry Page had personal knowledge of the operation, as did Sheryl Sandberg, a Google executive who now is the chief operating officer for Facebook. In 2009 Google started requiring online pharmacy advertisers to be certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's Verified Internet Pharmacy Practices Sites program and hired an outside company to detect pharmacy advertisers exploiting flaws in the Google's screening systems."

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meowmix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830401)

And the NAOBPVIPPS rears its ugly head again

Brin and Page (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830853)

Don't be evil? Caught being Jews.

500 million?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830407)

Sounds like a good cash grab for the government.

Re:500 million?? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830505)

Sounds like a good cash grab for the government.

500 million is petty chump change for the US federal government. You could define the Planck time in terms of how long 500 million dollars would keep the US government in operation.

The whole thing is stupid anyway. Good drug dealers don't deliver ads to your browser. They use networks of trust.

Like all such restrictions on what consenting adults do, these laws are a sort of IQ test -- the dumb ones get caught. The smart ones? Unless you participate you never even know they are there. This overuse of police power and regulatory authority breeds smarter dealers who are harder to catch just like what overuse of antibiotics does to staph.

Seriously some of you really think all this regulation of some things and straight up prohibition of other things is changing anything? Every day you get in your car and drive to work I guarantee you, other drivers around you are high on something, carrying something, transporting something, about to sell something. This foolishness just makes them hide it, that's all.

Re:500 million?? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#38830521)

Sounds like a good cash grab for the government.

I wonder whether government computers will continue to get quality search results from Google, seeing as Google has now lost some money to operate their very demanding data centers... ;)

Re:500 million?? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#38830659)

I'd be a lot more worried about google saying they've had enough and taking their business off shore, but hopefully we're still a ways from that happening...

Re:500 million?? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830825)

I wonder whether government computers will continue to get quality search results from Google, seeing as Google has now lost some money to operate their very demanding data centers... ;)

All the government operated computers I use already redirect www.google.com to www.baidu.com and www.yandex.com.

Ever since we install that Symantec suite, things just haven't been the same ...

Re:500 million?? (4, Insightful)

EvilBudMan (588716) | about 2 years ago | (#38830571)

Have to agree. Sting? Google? They could have just told them. If the government wants to steal there money and ours, I would prefer plain old taxes. No speed traps, crazy fines in some cities that will get everyone about once a year, etc. Sometimes things get past the Mexican border too. Why should Google do their job anyhow?

I know Google has a lot of money, but a $500,000 fine is plain theft. Has the government stopped drugs coming in thru Mexico? Maybe they should be fined for that. It's all silly.

Re:500 million?? (0)

Beelzebud (1361137) | about 2 years ago | (#38830811)

It's not theft at all. Break the rules, pay the fines. Get caught smuggling drugs from Mexico, go to jail. I'd say Google got off lightly compared to actual citizens.

Re:500 million?? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#38831175)

Google wasn't actually smuggling drugs.

Re:500 million?? (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#38831221)

they were linking to it!

and if you're been breathing at all during the last few years, you know that if you LINK to things, its the same as DOING those things.

you know what I'm talking about.

Re:500 million?? (3, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | about 2 years ago | (#38830869)

Agreed, no fees for drivers licenses and plates and marriage licenses. No tolls or other charges. All this crap is just a way to avoid using the tax system to pay for government services.

Its made to SOUND fair, the people using the service pay the fee, but if you are pulling in a few billion a year its far more preferable to pay a $50 fee for your license plate* than to pay your fair share of the cost to provide everyone with plates under the progressive tax system. Who pays the difference between your million dollar fair share of that cost and the $50 you paid instead? The single mother of four whose kids went hungry last night, she works in a factory owned by the billionaire.

Because nobody's time is worth billions. Those billions represent the labor of millions of fellow citizens and those citizens needed millions of license plates in order to produce those billions. The guy who ends up with the billions should pay for the license plates it represents, not the fellow citizens who did the work.

*Analogy is slightly flawed since license plates exist primarily for the purpose of systematically charging fees and really should be gotten rid of.

Re:500 million?? (1)

alexborges (313924) | about 2 years ago | (#38830583)

Its excrutiating, really, how governments will go to great lenghts to stop people from fucking themselves up willingly. I just pray that the .gov stops this nonsense.

Re:500 million?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38831165)

Well put, you'd think they would have other interests than stopping people from making their own choices about what they want to fuck themselves up with.

Re:500 million?? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#38831203)

That's not what's happening here, though. They're mostly protecting the business of US drug companies. Remember these are 'prescription drugs', not banned drugs.

Re:500 million?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38831097)

Well, it is easier, and SAFER, than going agains the drug cartels, meth, heroin trafickers, the cocain business and such.

Once you go public... (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#38830423)

That's when the American business school ethic takes over. No right or wrong, legal or illegal, no such thing as pride in workmanship or quality; just whatever it takes to make the books look good for the next quarter. And, if it's illegal hope you're not the sorry sucker holding the bag before you get a chance to cash out.

Re:Once you go public... (2)

wiedzmin (1269816) | about 2 years ago | (#38830459)

hope you're not the sorry sucker holding the bag before you get a chance to cash out.

New RIM "CEO" comes to mind.

Re:Once you go public... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830517)

Whatever, I think you have confused the legal code for an ethical code. I have no problems with what Google did, except it seems to be a legally foolish decision.

Re:Once you go public... (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 2 years ago | (#38830905)

Business doesn't hesitate to play that game in reverse by claiming that actions were ethical because they didn't break the law. They do it all the time. Every time they break a contract for instance because it makes more economical sense to break their word.

Re:Once you go public... (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 2 years ago | (#38830981)

So your ethical code is OK with breaking the legal code whenever you feel like it ? I could see the point when talking about individuals and civil disobedience but anyone who thinks it's OK for corporations to ignore the law should have their head examined. It's enough that corporations as an entity are psychopathic [commondreams.org] and that some actively recruit psychopaths [independent.co.uk] , let's not give them a license to break the law too.

Re:Once you go public... (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#38830585)

Sorry, I have worked with to many public business at the C*O level. frankly, you are wrong.
is that some peoples point of view? yes. But it's not common, and it is not the 'American Business school ethic'

Did you read the article? it's form a Con-Man with no collaboration, and it reads like a classic tale that would be woven by a pathological liar.
So, long term Con-Man and liar, no confirmation, any of the alleged specifics are common knowledge, and then the feds do nothing with this information. His interaction with Google certainly doesn't sound like the typical advertiser interactions

Too Many Red Flags. Let me know when a reputable source confirms it. Until then, I'll choose to ignore the pathological liar.

Re:Once you go public... (3, Insightful)

Bob-taro (996889) | about 2 years ago | (#38830885)

Sorry, I have worked with to many public business at the C*O level. frankly, you are wrong. is that some peoples point of view? yes. But it's not common, and it is not the 'American Business school ethic'

Did you read the article? it's form a Con-Man with no collaboration, and it reads like a classic tale that would be woven by a pathological liar. So, long term Con-Man and liar, no confirmation, any of the alleged specifics are common knowledge, and then the feds do nothing with this information. His interaction with Google certainly doesn't sound like the typical advertiser interactions

Too Many Red Flags. Let me know when a reputable source confirms it. Until then, I'll choose to ignore the pathological liar.

Mod parent up. The whole thing COULD be true, but it's interesting how quick people can be to believe anything that backs up their preconceived notions (e.g. rich executives are evil) and then pile on with "yes, we all know that" sort of comments without even reading, much less questioning, the story.

Re:Once you go public... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830911)

Read the actual article, in the Wall St Journal, not the crappy pcmag article that was based on it.

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052970204624204577176964003660658-lMyQjAxMTAyMDIwNTEyNDUyWj.html [wsj.com]

They cite numerous credible sources, including the US Attorney who led the investigation. Oh, and there's also the fact that Google admitted to wrongdoing as part of their settlement. Feel free to keep your head in the sand though.

Re:Once you go public... (4, Informative)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 2 years ago | (#38831131)

The wall Street Journal (who wrote the original article) is a pretty reputable source as these things go. So when they write all the same facts and then follow up with : [wsj.com]

"Mr. Whitaker, who pleaded guilty and faced a maximum 65-year prison term, was sentenced in December to six years, following what federal prosecutors called "rather extraordinary" cooperation. He is due for release in two years."

I tend to believe it.

Re:Once you go public... (1)

alexborges (313924) | about 2 years ago | (#38830615)

Fuck that man. I say let them publish whatever they want and let people buy whatever they want. Spending tax money in this kind of sterile morality is the stupidest thing government does.

Re:Once you go public... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#38831275)

This has nothing to do with morality. They're "prescription drugs". This is about protecting the US drug companies.

Re:Once you go public... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#38830623)

It is also what you get when you provide incentives to your sales reps that ONLY look at how much money they brought in.Was there a bonus for denying shady deals? Was there an allowance to do due diligence on shady-looking companies? Or was it "your base salary is $5 an hour. Your commission is 50%. Don't slack."?

If it was the latter, don't be surprised by your sales reps turning a blind eye to shady set ups. And by the way, execs are not immune to this. If you reward them for turning a blind eye, they will.

Re:Once you go public... (5, Funny)

SaroDarksbane (1784314) | about 2 years ago | (#38830633)

Yes, how dare they accept ads from companies willing to sell drugs to American consumers at a low cost. Clearly, the ethical party here is the government, who props up the monopolies of the pharmacy industry by force and prevents sick Americans from getting what they need to live at an affordable price.

Won't somebody please think of the Big Pharma CEOs??

Re:Once you go public... (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 2 years ago | (#38830783)

There is something to be said about banning the re-importation of US-branded drugs from Canada at a lower price. It's nuts that branded pills sent to Canada at a lower price become impotent when shipped back to the US.

However, the story covers more than this. They were (pretending to) ship RU-486, the abortion drug, along with steroids and human growth hormone into the US, which is illegal. Moreover, it's not the word of a con man. There is evidence that top level Google executives were actually aware of the kinds of drugs that were sold. This is a blockbuster case, and Google should be slapped for aiding what they knew was illegal sales of drugs to the US.

Re:Once you go public... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38831155)

RTFA! -- without a prescription.

Re:Once you go public... (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 2 years ago | (#38831249)

Yes, lets allow everyone to sell drugs over the internet without any oversight or checks whatsoever. What's the worst that could happen, right ?

Re:Once you go public... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830699)

Idiot - the more likely cause is that Adwords is a huge, automated system and no one even considered the legal ramifications of "helping" people selling drugs illegally because they never used illegal drugs as a basis for any of their test cases when coding the adwords algorithms. While there's a LOT of potential for Google to be evil with it's capital - this definitely isn't it - the only evil in this story is that a larger organization run by the sleaziest of people and operated by the most incapable and idiotic among us (too fucking incompetent to get a job anywhere else) - just robbed a smaller group without basis, for $500 million dollars (yes, the government - in case any half-wits from it got lost on the interwebs and are reading this now).

Re:Once you go public... (3, Funny)

afabbro (33948) | about 2 years ago | (#38830735)

That's when the American business school ethic takes over. No right or wrong, legal or illegal, no such thing as pride in workmanship or quality;

I can think of endless private companies that could be described the same. Heck, just look at your local strip club.

Re:Once you go public... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830893)

There are plenty of strip clubs around that have a significant amount of pride in "quality" and "workmanship"... An unethical strip club would be the one that uses pictures of girls that don't really work there in their promo material...

Re:Once you go public... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830793)

Exactly. If these people didn't work for the government, they'd realize that allowing prescription drugs into the U.S. would save americans money and they'd have been fine with it. That's what you meant, right?

Re:Once you go public... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#38830947)

LOL, you think it's when the company goes public that its executives decide to throw morals out the window?

Sure it's true that some sociopaths use the "fiduciary duty to shareholders" aspect of a public company to justify their pre-existing lack of ethics and morals (despite the lack of shareholder lawsuits against companies that don't behave unethically). Just how much have you bought into that narrative that you think that's when the problem actually starts?

Like, if Google was just as big but privately owned they wouldn't have wanted to make the extra money from these drug ads? Like private businesses aren't run by people with the same "American business school ethics"? As if a company like Freescale was taken private after being public so it could finally be run ethically again... rather than avoiding the extra visibility -- and thus scrutiny -- a public company has so the owners can suck the money out of it without the employees knowing how long the checks will keep cashing.

Truer than you know (2)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 2 years ago | (#38831145)

Back in college I worked for a very large computer retailer. One of the things the managers there did, was take hardware that they couldn't sell, and just store it in the back room. They wouldn't discount it, because their bonuses were dependent on the margin they maintained for the quarter, and if you dump a bunch of laptops at a discount, it adds up very quickly. Anyway, this went on for years, with each manager just piling up the problem for the next guy to deal with, before rotating into some new position at a new store. Eventually, someone in corporate caught wind of this, and took some steps to dump the old hardware. They put it on sale one weekend for a few hours before yanking it, because even a few hours of discount caused a ping on the corporate servers when they detected a sharp drop in margin at the store. That caused whatever corporate flunky to get cold feet, and start sweating his bonus for the quarter. So, back to the warehouse it all went.

I don't know what was more appalling, the stupidity or the greed. AMERICA, LIVE THE DREAM!

American business school ethics... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830461)

It's funny you say that, have you ever actually ben in an American Business school? I have, and we were required to take several ethics courses as well as weighing the ethical impacts of any decisions we made in case studies.

There are assholes everywhere who don't do the right thing, business is no different.

Re:American business school ethics... (1)

knotprawn (1935752) | about 2 years ago | (#38830495)

Agreed, there are ethics courses in Business Schools. However, it's also firmly drilled into students that the bottomline is the bottomline, and that it's best not to put your bottom on the line.

Re:American business school ethics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830513)

Apparently they don't teach you how to use "Reply" buttons, though.

Re:American business school ethics... (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 2 years ago | (#38830531)

But it only takes a few in business to do the wrong thing to make the whole business look wrong, as in the case here. Certainly most Google employees knew nothing of this, right?

Of course, since Google is in fact an Actual Person, and Actual People who aren't schizophrenic can't both know and not know something, then we should legally assume that if any one Google employee knew about this, then they all knew about this, and therefore every Google executive should go to prison. Sounds fair to me, them being the same Actual Person and all...

Re:American business school ethics... (2)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#38830733)

It's funny you say that, have you ever actually ben in an American Business school? I have, and we were required to take several ethics courses as well as weighing the ethical impacts of any decisions we made in case studies.

Just curious - did the ethics courses try to teach you how to differentiate between one decision that makes a lot of money from one that makes slightly more money or did they have any lessons on how to decide between A, which breaks some laws and involves some lies but makes the company a nice profit, and B, which obeys the law but costs the company huge losses and your job.

Oh noes the evil (5, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#38830465)

Ya because Americans being able to get decently priced drugs, is such a crime. My father buys drugs from a company like the ones they mention in the ads. He can't afford drugs here in the USA even though the ones he gets from Canada are exactly the same, yet cost one tenth the price.

Re:Oh noes the evil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830547)

You're either with US or you're with the terrorists.

Re:Oh noes the evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830611)

Things that require a prescription in this country can't be bought in unknown quantities from places that don't require prescriptions.

Re:Oh noes the evil (4, Informative)

ae1294 (1547521) | about 2 years ago | (#38830775)

Things that require a prescription in this country can't be bought in unknown quantities from places that don't require prescriptions.

I assure you that they can...

Secrets secret are no fun (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830669)

I can't imagine the multi-billion dollar drug companies having a hand in funding a sting like this...

Re:Oh noes the evil (1)

afabbro (33948) | about 2 years ago | (#38830765)

Ya because Americans being able to get decently priced drugs, is such a crime.

I agree on this, but as I recall, a lot of these shady "pharmacies" were selling unlimited quantities oxycontin and xanax to anyone who said "I have a toothache" or "I'm a little stressed" for grossly inflated prices. In other words, drug dealing.

Re:Oh noes the evil (5, Informative)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#38830871)

The one my father uses doesn't sell pain killers, they sell actual medication. For things like arthritis, asthma and other such maladies. Though I imagine there is some truth to what you say but I'd imagine most people who want pain killers, just find a doctor who is willing to write them the prescription. They aren't terrible hard to find.

Re:Oh noes the evil (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#38830925)

try costco for drugs

the way the canadian pharmacies work is the government buys up the drugs and they sell it to americans subsidized by the canadian government because the social health system is always short of money

Re:Oh noes the evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38831111)

the way the canadian pharmacies work is the government buys up the drugs and they sell it to americans subsidized by the canadian government because the social health system is always short of money

WRONG!

We have public healthcare, and the Canada Health Act helps organize healthcare federally. But there is no federal drugs program forcing Big Pharma to lower its drug prices. Yet. Hopefully next election we'll boot out the Harper Party and get a government interested in bulk purchases and economies of scale. :)

Re:Oh noes the evil (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#38831129)

No, the Canadian government said to the drug companies 'sell us the drugs at cost or we will invalidate your patents!'

The drug company caved, thinking they had a captive market in the USA. Now the drug companies are learning the true cost of not fighting the Canadian government extortionists.

I bet Canada will soon be paying market prices for its drugs. These contracts don't last forever.

Re:Oh noes the evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830995)

Here is the bigger question. Why shouldn't people be able to drug themselves into oblivion if they want? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and all...what if they find happiness in a pill bottle? Oh right, we're only supposed to do "good drugs" prescribed to us by drug peddlers^W^Wdoctors. Oh and take our "happy pills" like SSRIs/ADHD meds and that's okay as long as you don't get "high". How are some of these doctors and pharmaceutical companies any different than drug dealers and narco-terrorists?

Re:Oh noes the evil (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#38830791)

If all countries played fair in this I expect the prices in the US would go down by about 10% and the prices in countries like Canada would go up about 900%.

Sudden influx of Google is Evil Stories (1, Troll)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#38830471)

What's triggering this?

Re:Sudden influx of Google is Evil Stories (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830507)

Because they're becoming an increasingly good business and not some nerdy academic project?

Re:Sudden influx of Google is Evil Stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830525)

What's triggering this?

Google?

Re:Sudden influx of Google is Evil Stories (3, Funny)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 2 years ago | (#38830561)

Bavarian illuminati, freemasons, elders of zion, the psyops corps of the PLA and the shade of Osama bin Laden.

Re:Sudden influx of Google is Evil Stories (2)

shazzle (1242132) | about 2 years ago | (#38830789)

Shattering of an illusion that scroogle.org has tried to tell us about for so long: Google is evil, like all the rest of them.

http://www.scroogle.org/gifs/gscrew.gif [scroogle.org]

Some alternatives to searching, which I think is the most dangerous tool to lose your privacy on: https://duckduckgo.com/ [duckduckgo.com] https://www.ixquick.com/ [ixquick.com] and of course http://scroogle.org/ [scroogle.org] that has many SSL-solutions, depending on your OS.

Re:Sudden influx of Google is Evil Stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38831211)

What's triggering this?

It's Zuckerbitch being irritated over Google+ - the story isn't even real.
"Everyone thinks we're evil - and we are - but what if we make the other guy look more evil!"

I have a perscription for a (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830473)

First Post

So why is this even forbidden? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830477)

Why are these drugs illegal to begin with? They are not addictive and most users will be well aware of both their benefits and risks. These are not people in a weak position that need to be protected against themselves. Moreover there is no way to prevent people from using them as they are also sold in gyms. And if the government is afraid people may get bad stuff, why not simply allow normal pharmacies to sell them?

Re:So why is this even forbidden? (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | about 2 years ago | (#38830923)

They're not illegal drugs. The headline was misleading.

They're prescription drugs, and selling them without a prescription is illegal.

$500 million settlement? (2)

charlieo88 (658362) | about 2 years ago | (#38830487)

For Google, it's not that much, but $500 million for most of us would be.... wait for it... a bitter pill to swallow.

And now we have proof that (5, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#38830501)

the Wall Street Journal has fallen far under murdochs ownership.

Everything in the story comes from either a Con Artists claiming it's true, or known events that do not contridict the original story.

I was ready to rail against this, but after reading the article, it's all shit.

And then end?
" allegedly from Jason Corriente's brother, saying the online entrepreneur died in a car crash."
So, they got all the evidences and did nothing?

Sorry, not buying it. Lets have the feds come forward to confirm this story.

Of course, people on slashdot won't bother to consider the source, they'll just pounce on the headline to 'prove' their ideological belief about Google or business.

Re:And now we have proof that (1)

Tsingi (870990) | about 2 years ago | (#38830627)

Of course, people on slashdot won't bother to consider the source, they'll just pounce on the headline to 'prove' their ideological belief about Google or business.

Which begs the question: Where's Bonch?

Re:And now we have proof that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830685)

My guess would be that he's ignoring this story since it completely destroys his "Slashdot never says anything bad about Google!" persecution complex.

Re:And now we have proof that (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#38831025)

Of course, people on slashdot won't bother to consider the source, they'll just pounce on the headline to 'prove' their ideological belief about Google or business.

Which begs the question: Where's Bonch?

ah HAH! That's not begging the question! [wikipedia.org]

Re:And now we have proof that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830821)

Are you functionally retarded? This story is confirmed by the Federal government and Google's financials. Take off your tinfoil hat you degenerate neckbeard.

Re:And now we have proof that (1)

iriemon (231781) | about 2 years ago | (#38830943)

The settled for 500 MILLION. Isn't that proof?

Re:And now we have proof that (2)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#38830961)

I was ready to rail against this, but after reading the article, it's all shit.

I can see 500 million reasons to believe it's all true.

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent page-one story today on how federal agents caught Google deliberately breaking the law so it could make money off sites selling drugs online. That case ended with a settlement in which Google avoided criminal prosecution by paying the feds more than half a billion dollars.

The Journal Takes Us Inside the Google Drugs Sting [cjr.org]

This isn't friendly advice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38831143)

This isn't friendly advice. I'm just saying: You're really starting to look like a kook. I normally don't read the post author names, but your writing style was distinctive enough that I could tell a few posts were written by you. Giveaways are: tilting at windmills, short broken paragraphs, and the use of repeated Inappropriately-Capitalized phrases.

Don't be Evil* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830549)

*unless there is money involved

What law did the break? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830553)

Very confused here. I thought corporations were now people so where are their 1st amendment protections?

Re:What law did the break? (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 2 years ago | (#38831077)

Very confused here. I thought corporations were now people so where are their 1st amendment protections?

That thinking only applies when you are a corporate entity looking to publish negative, often completely untrue ads about politicians without revealing who you are or who gave you money... If you are looking to do something like making money off of the promotion of the availability of prescription-like substances on the international market, you bet your ass that it's not about rights any more...

Why is this against the law? (4, Insightful)

revscat (35618) | about 2 years ago | (#38830555)

I should preface this by saying that I am no Google fan. I think they have made many poor decisions over the past few years, and the GPYW initiative has caused me to switch over to DuckDuckGo full time.

Having said that...

Why is it illegal for Canadian drug companies to advertise their goods in the United States? The US has insanely high drug prices, and Canadian imports of those same products are (or could be) beneficial to the lives, health, and finances of who knows how many people. This is an unjust law, and am having an incredibly difficult time finding a justification for it.

This seems like yet another instance of the pharmaceutical lobby protecting their vast profits from competition.

Re:Why is this against the law? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#38830651)

The same reason it's illegal to import DVDs from Africa to sell in the US. The drug companies find they can sell drugs in the US for a LOT more than they can almost anywhere else, so they do. Allowing imports from other countries would defeat that.

Re:Why is this against the law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830841)

You know how airlines might sell one seat for $50 while the one next to it might sell for $500? That's because some people can afford $500 and other can only afford $50. If you made it "fair" and charged everybody the same price, you wouldn't have an airplane full of $50 seats, you'd have an airplane full of $300-400 seats. Of course then only people who could afford $300 or so would be able to fly.

The reason DVDs in Africa are so cheap is that Africans can't afford to pay a month's salary for a DVD. The reason DVDs in the US are so much more expensive is that the movie companies need to have somebody pay for the making of the movies.

The reason drugs in Canada are so cheap is that Canada has a single-payer system (the government) and they refuse to pay very much to get drugs. Since drug companies still want to get some money from Canada, they sell to Canada above cost but well below what it would take to recoup the R&D costs on the drugs. The reason drugs are so expensive in the US is that drug companies need to have somebody pay for R&D.

dom

Re:Why is this against the law? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#38831039)

The reason drugs are so expensive in the US is that drug companies need to have somebody pay for R&D.

Giggle.

Snort.

ROTFL [sciencedaily.com] .

Re:Why is this against the law? (1)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#38831185)

The reason DVDs in Africa are so cheap is that Africans can't afford to pay a month's salary for a DVD. The reason DVDs in the US are so much more expensive is that the movie companies need to have somebody pay for the making of the movies.

"You see, the exploitation is for your own good, really!" Not buying it.

The reason drugs in Canada are so cheap is that Canada has a single-payer system (the government) and they refuse to pay very much to get drugs. Since drug companies still want to get some money from Canada, they sell to Canada above cost but well below what it would take to recoup the R&D costs on the drugs. The reason drugs are so expensive in the US is that drug companies need to have somebody pay for R&D.

US pharmaceutical companies spend a LOT more on advertising than they spend on R&D. Which makes no damned sense whatsoever, considering you are supposed to go to a medical professional who selects and prescribes a drug to you based on its proven medical effectiveness. Advertising to the public should have no place here, only merit and fitness for purpose.

Re:Why is this against the law? (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#38831135)

The same reason it's illegal to import DVDs from Africa to sell in the US. The drug companies find they can sell drugs in the US for a LOT more than they can almost anywhere else, so they do. Allowing imports from other countries would defeat that.

You see, when they say "globalism" and "global economy" what they mean is that corporations can off-shore to get the cheapest prices available for human labor.

When humans want to do things the other way around by making an "off-shore" international purchase to get the cheapest prices available for goods, that's a crime and suddenly the government wants to enforce a brand of protectionism.

It's standard hypocrisy.

Re:Why is this against the law? (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | about 2 years ago | (#38830683)

Check this post [slashdot.org] . IANAL.

Re:Why is this against the law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830755)

Some drugs like OxyContin are only supposed to be available with a prescription, since they could be abused for recreational use.

Re:Why is this against the law? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#38831107)

Some drugs like OxyContin are only supposed to be available with a prescription, since they could be abused for recreational use.

OK folks, has anyone out there actually purchased what they thought was a narcotic or benzo or other US DEA controlled substance through one of these 'pharmacies'? I'm actually curious. None of the people so inclined that I deal with on a daily basis have ever admitted to getting anything in the mail - it all comes from Fred, the local dealer.

You would be setting yourself up for a bust by the Postal Service inspectors - the fact that it came through a dodgy address in Canada would be an easy tip off for these folks. You would be at the mercy of anybody who has a pill press, some starch, some food coloring and a copy of the Physician's Desk Reference. You couldn't even complain to Fred that you got cheated....

Seems like a pretty stupid way to do things.

Here's why (2)

bonch (38532) | about 2 years ago | (#38830877)

This has been covered every this story comes up on Slashdot. Unregulated, unlicensed pharmacies are dangerous--not only do people get drugs without a doctor's prescription, but there's no guarantee that the drugs are even the right drugs or that they've been handled properly. Counterfeit drugs, outdated drugs, contaminated drugs, mislabeled drugs--anything goes. And there are other problems, like the fact they can sell to minors or that there is nothing legally enforcing confidentiality like with a legitimate pharmacy. You complain about high drug prices, but there's nothing stopping some yahoo from selling a complete rip-off [reddit.com] (and a potentially life-threatening one, as in the link). The foundation of a civilized society is some form of centralized regulation, or you just have total chaos as the people who callously fuck over other people win out.

The best government money can buy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830581)

This is a sting operation to reduce the number of people who order reasonably-priced drugs from Canada because the ones in US are too expensive even with insurance. The "no prescription" thing is just a pretext.

We should be able to import drugs at least from countries with equivalent quality control over the production as US. This is the single biggest missing piece of healthcare legislation no one wants to bring up because our pharmaceutical companies are addicted to the prices they can extract from this market.

If selling Canadian pharmaceuticals is illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830631)

maybe the criminals aren't the Canadian drug companies...

I'm looking at YOU U.S. healthcare!

Doh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830717)

Can't we do just a little bit of evil?

from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830751)

"Selling illegal narcotics is a felony, and Whitaker could have been sentence up to 65 years for his crimes. But thanks to his cooperation, he received a six-year sentence."

Hmm, how noble of him.

no prescription required? (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#38830823)

How is "no prescription required" an obvious violation? This would have to be specific to each drug, and the person who is looking at it would have to know what drugs require a prescription. The average person depends on the pharmacist, drug retailer, or doctor, to know what requires a prescription. if it's on the shelf (even virtual), people assume it must be legal. If the government wants people to quit buying drugs from Canada, then it needs to mandate "fair and balanced" drug pricing.

Why would you buy drugs on the internet? (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#38830861)

And why would you want to buy them without a prescription? That seems pretty silly, really.

Re:Why would you buy drugs on the internet? (5, Interesting)

bky1701 (979071) | about 2 years ago | (#38831001)

Not everyone can afford the alternative.

Re:Why would you buy drugs on the internet? (3, Insightful)

coyote_oww (749758) | about 2 years ago | (#38831163)

This issue is not whether you have a prescription or not, but whether you need them. You can know you need drugs without having a prescription.

In my own case, I am on some pricey immuno-suppressive drugs. One is Prograf, which is a brand name for Tacrolimus. I know I will need this in some quantity for the rest of my life. I am currently well insured, so it's not an issue. However, I would still need Tac if I was unemployed, and I would certainly consider getting it from a reputable non-US pharmacy. The prescription I have for this is issued annually - 90 days + 3 refills, or 30 days +11 refills, typically. Now, if i wanted to get really cheap, i'd stop seeing the doctor, get the lab work done on my own dime (i'd have to pay for it anyhow) and do my own analysis of the results (not rocket science, desired tac-levels for post-transplant are well established, and printed on the lab report. Then I'd buy drugs to fill the need at the lowest cost available internationally.

Really, once you know your getting accurate dosing and purity, the government doesn't have much additional to offer.

The idea that pharmacies should be forced to provide drugs cheaply outside the US, and Americans can fund R&D and profit margins is unfair. Those costs should be spread equally amongst all the developed nations of the world, not just the US. So, I am in favor of opening the borders, or imposing some stiff taxes on cost differentials between the US and other countries.

Re:Why would you buy drugs on the internet? (1)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#38831237)

And why would you want to buy them without a prescription? That seems pretty silly, really.

That question is not relevant. The relevant question is, "if consenting adults want to do this with their own bodies and their own finances, why would you want to send men with guns after them to stop them by force or threat of force?" That's what needs justification.

Re:Why would you buy drugs on the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38831253)

that is actually how you buy drugs in most of the wolrd. walk into a pharmacy and buy whatever you want for a few dollars.

Illegal != Wrong (5, Insightful)

tylersoze (789256) | about 2 years ago | (#38830907)

Yet another example highlighting the fact that "illegal" does not necessarily equate to "wrong".

But wait, what about NAFTA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38830915)

Free Trade is good, right? What about NAFTA benefits for Joe Sixpack? If Joe needs meds, why can't he buy them from Canada. (noted with sarcasm, we all know NAFTA is for the benefit of corporations, not you).

So much for "Don't be evil" (1)

iriemon (231781) | about 2 years ago | (#38830917)

I'm not surprised. Money is corrosive to good.

How about we instead turn our rightful indignation (4, Insightful)

melted (227442) | about 2 years ago | (#38831065)

How about we instead turn our rightful indignation against Big Pharma and ask why the fuck is it not legal to buy the same drugs from Canada for less? When I moved to the US, I was shocked by how badly US residents are being gouged when it comes to pharmaceuticals. Nowhere else in the world do drugs cost as much as they do in the US. In some places the same exact drugs by the same exact companies are sold at 1/5th to 1/10th the price.

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