Canadian Pharmacies React To US Gov't Taking $500 Million From Google Over Their Ads

from the this-doesn't-help-keep-people-safe dept

While the Justice Department spun the taking of $500 million from Google as an important step in "protecting Americans," the reality appears to be that it's doing exactly the opposite. While there certainly may be some online pharmacies that sell fake and fraudulent (and potentially dangerous) drugs, the government is conveniently conflating those scammers with legitimate drugs reimported to the US as gray market imports. Those are still legitimate drugs, but are just more reasonably priced. In such cases, a very strong argument can be made for the fact that these drugs do a ton to "protect Americans" by allowing them to stay healthy at a more reasonable price. This is why President Obama repeatedly claimed that he was in favor of reimportation and why there's a bill going through Congress, as we speak, to allow more of it. So, it still makes no sense why the administration -- which officially supports greater reimportation -- would go after Google because some pharmacies used reimportation.

But even more to the point, the Canadian pharmacies -- who, again, were selling legitimate versions of these drugs -- are reasonably annoyed about the whole thing, and are noting that the real harm will come to Americans who can no longer get safe and affordable drugs. In fact, they may now be pushed to go to much more questionable pharmacy operations since Google will no longer point them to those who had been certified. The President of one of those pharmacies, Jan Drugs, has been passing around this open letter to Google:
Dear Google,

I am David Janeson, President of Jan Drugs. Jandrugs.com, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is a brick-and -mortar regulated and licensed pharmacy and fills prescriptions for Americans from Canada and other countries. We advertised with Google Adwords, and some small percentage of the money that you are now forfeiting to the U.S. Department of Justice is due to the money we spent to advertise with you. We provide a valuable service to our patients, and Google by allowing us to advertise, helped many Americans obtain the prescriptions they require at prices they can better afford.

Many of our customers first found us through a Google ad. Jan Drugs is blessed to have had over 100,000 American customers order from us over the years. Our customers universally have ordered medicines from us because they were prescribed a prescription drug that they found prohibitively expensive in the US. Jan Drugs is proud that we have helped many peoples lives by helping them find the prescription drugs they need at prices they can afford. Jan Drugs sells medications for conditions including depression, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer and epilepsy. Jan Drugs and it's customers take the position that it is ridiculous to accept that uninsured or underinsured Americans should be expected to pay higher prices than everywhere else in the world.

When Google first cancelled our advertising account we were disappointed. We believed that Google's existing pharmacy verification program should have been strengthened rather than cancelled and that the end of the verification program made the internet a more dangerous place for Americans to find their needed medications. Our pharmacy willingly participated in Google’s chosen certification program, PharmacyChecker, which was required for Jan Drugs to advertise the sale of non-controlled prescription drugs through AdWords to U.S. consumers. Now that we see that Google has paid a very large forfeiture, partly for accepting advertising for companies like Jan Drugs, we understand why you took the position you did.

Jan Drugs believes that access to reliable and affordable medication is a right. We and companies like Jan Drugs have helped millions of Americans save on their prescription medications over the internet in the same way as if they had personally visited us in Canada. Google should be proud of its' previous efforts to make the internet a safer place to purchase medications as millions have benefited and Jan Drugs believes that Google being fined is against the interests of Americans and morally wrong.

Thank you and kind regards,

David Janeson and the Jan Drugs team
250-530 Kenaston Blvd.
Winnipeg MB R3N 1Z4
Canada
Indeed, it's somewhat surprising that more Americans who rely on such things haven't spoken up about this effort by the US government which now puts them in much greater danger, either from being unable to afford the drugs they need to stay alive or by leading them to order from much less trustworthy sources.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 5:54am

    Drug Companies

    Drug Companies are corporations.
    Corporations are people.
    The role of the government is to protect the people.

    So, what's the problem?

     

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  2.  
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    Darren Henry, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 5:55am

    100TB

    It's a shocking case.. I have been following it with anticipation as I'm sure it's a shocking revelation to some Americans...

    This is what happens when necessary drugs are expensive, with the birth of the internet, if it's not someone in Canada using Google Adwords they are buying from, it will be somewhere and someone else.

     

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  3.  
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    Bergman (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 5:58am

    Or maybe they have complained, perhaps in droves, and much like the ICE seizures, the government is pretending the complaints never happened.

     

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  4.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:03am

    Reimportation is the most asinine solution to this problem I can imagine. Fix our patent laws and the FDA and we won't need to reimport drugs from Canada.

     

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  5.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:09am

    Re:

    They forgot to attach the required PAC donation to their complaint letter.

    Their representative sent them back a form letter talking about something entirely different.

    They've been yelling for years, and they gave up.

    They wrote, but died before getting any response because they could no longer afford the drugs keeping them alive.

     

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  6.  
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    Kevin (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:16am

    What?!

    In fact, they may now be pushed to go to much more questionable pharmacy operations since Google will no longer point them to those who had been certified.


    You mean denying access to legal options causes people to look more into illegal alternatives? I refuse to believe this.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:29am

    Expensive Medication

    It is just breathtaking that the FDA deliberately pretends that prescription drugs being expensive is not a problem. It is a problem and it does kill people. The FDA is supposed to be protecting Americans, and when it comes to drug prices, it just plain does not. How can the FDA justify killing their fellow Americans?

    In Australia, we have a subsidized drug system which is automatically available to 100% of the population. Too expensive? No, the opposite, the Australian health system costs half per head of population compared to what the USA pays. Also, it covers everyone, not just the most wealthy 80% of the population. You Americans are being robbed blind and murdered by your broken health system.

     

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  8.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    Then where would the drug companies...I mean...people...get their money from?

     

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  9.  
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    Chris ODonnell (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:32am

    //Indeed, it's somewhat surprising that more Americans who rely on such things haven't spoken up...//

    I wonder if most of those American think they might be doing something illegal, and thus have an incentive to stay quiet?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:34am

    Who cares they are just Americans!

     

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  11.  
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    Warren, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Re: Drug Companies

    Corporations are not people. That's like saying: Earth is a planet. The Earth's environment is safe for people. Mars is a planet. Therefore, Mars' environment is safe for people.

    And this isn't protecting business. This is limiting competition, which is bad for business and also one of the key reasons American drugs are so expensive.

    And the role of the government isn't to protect the people, it is to represent the people, and there is a huge difference between these to roles.

     

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  12.  
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    Warren, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Drug Companies

    Don't mind my bad grammar... I'm taking an intensive Korean language course, so some of the different grammar rules are a little jumbled right now

     

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  13.  
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    Warren, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Re: What?!

    You know... even though the sarcasm is blatantly obvious (redundancy used for effect), I still had one of those moments where I thought you were serious.

    I ever wonder if the government, specifically the American government in this case, ever bothered to think long enough about taking this money from Google, to realize the consequences it will have... beyond the interests of the American drug companies that is...

     

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  14.  
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    FarSide (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Drug Companies

    He's referring to the fact that under US law, a corporation is considered a 'person' (with some exceptions)

    (from wiki)
    1 U.S.C. §1 (United States Code) which states:

    In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise-- the words "person" and "whoever" include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;

     

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  15.  
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    FarSide (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:52am

    Re:

    A perfect example of 'unintended consequences' and why the laws in this country are so screwed up -

    They allowed the pharm companies to jack up prices above market value; so of course people found a way to circumvent it.

    Now we name that a 'loophole' so we can demonize it, then create a few more laws to 'close' it.

    Rinse, repeat.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Warren, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    And suddenly I can detect a level of sarcasm in the original post

    I don't know how I feel about considering a corporation a person. On the surface I don't like the idea and think that this would open up a plethora of legal issues, but I'm also wise enough to accept that I am not nearly educated enough about law (especially in a nation other than my own) to form an educated opinion

     

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  17.  
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    Warren, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    Similar to how the drug companies try to keep their books and actual cost secret, for fear that their high prices could be considered extortion (severe depression -> suicidal tendencies -> medicine helps relieve this -> need medicine while trying to treat the depression) and therefore illegal?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 6:58am

    Just remember, it's the wonderful American legal system and liablity issues that really drive up the price of drugs (and almost everything else you use daily).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Squirrel Brains (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re:

    Businesses in general, and pharma specifically, would have a cow if we developed a common market with Canada. There goes price discrimination between the two countries. I know that people aren't calling for a common market per se, but it sounds like they would like more of a common market for pharmaceuticals.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:17am

    all of this, and yet:

    http://torrentfreak.com/hotfile-ordered-to-share-user-data-with-the-mpaa-110830/

    Amazing what doesn't make it onto Techdirt.

     

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  21.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:18am

    Re:

    "I wonder if most of those American think they might be doing something illegal, and thus have an incentive to stay quiet?"

    Or just continue to do the same thing, only now inadvertently going to outlets that sell potentially harmful fakes instead of repackaged genuine drugs... They would probably only speak up if all outlets were closed, which isn't going to be possible.

     

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  22.  
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    Robert Doyle (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Hey, us Canadians would like more of a common market for some other things too. The fact that we all pay what we pay says there isn't enough pressure on the companies to change. I wonder if there will be an impact in regards to the reduced volumes coming to Canadian pharmas in regards to a lessening of volume discounts by the companies that make the actual drugs in the US. Just a thought.

     

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  23.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    whao, give it some time. Techdirt often has a bit of lag, just like Ars Technica.

     

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  24.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    "I don't know how I feel about considering a corporation a person."

    I struggled with this for a while too, but then I had an epiphany. It occurred when I walked into my local Walgreens and saw several workers. I thought: GASP! There's MULTIPLE people working here! That means that this person is made up of MULTIPLE PEOPLE!

    I spent the next ten minutes trying to figure out how a person could be made up of multiple people, but then I realized it was an exercize in the kind of stupidity that gives birth to Senators, so I had a cookie and everything went back to normal.

    Corporations aren't people. They're corporations.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:39am

    The problem is America's healthcare system

    The problem here isn't so much the government stopping google from advertising cheaper drugs from canada, it's the fact that America's health care system is so screwed up that it's CHEAPER for Americans to buy drugs from Canada that Canada bought from America.

    You know why Canada can sell drugs cheaper then what they cost in America? It's because Canada has a 'socialist' health care system that covers everyone. Canada's government negotiates lower perscription drug costs for every Canadian in the country. Having every Canadian covered by 1 insurance plan gives that insurance plan the leverage it needs to negotiate those lower price drugs.

    The most ironic part about America's messed up healthcare system is that Medicare, which most Americans strongly support, is the same kind of 'evil' socialism health care system that would work much better and reduce healthcare costs for everyone. All we'd have to do is have it cover all Americans & gave it the power to negotiate lower perscription drug costs.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    NullOp, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Thieves...

    Does this behavior surprise anyone? The government regularly steals money from individuals and corporations. Our government is in bed with the pharmaceutical companies in a big way. So it's really no surprise they nicked 500M from Google. This behavior will continue until the American people put a stop to it!

    Anyone but Obama in 2012!!!

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re:

    2 days already for possibly the biggest ruling in the cyber locker world? It is a significant ruling that appears to be the first step towards zapping the business model, at least in the US.

    Instead, we are talking pills and defamation cases from Thailand. Do you see how that works?

     

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  28.  
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    Another AC, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Huh? Common market? There already is one, no?

    I mean, we're talking about buying U.S. drugs and selling that exact same product back the the U.S.! The only reason Canada does this is because we regulate the maximum price a company can charge for a drug, then sell it back to the U.S. at a much higher price than that, which is still cheaper than Americans can buy the exact same drug from their own companies at! It's insanity at it's finest!

    I don't see how a common market would fix that... more layers on the problem won't do anything but add to the problem.

    To me, the problem and solution are obvious, just do what Canada does. U.S. politics are the only thing keeping them from doing that, but that's an entirely different issue in my mind.

     

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  29.  
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    blaktron (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    Dont worry DH, if liability was properly applied to these 'people', instead of just rights, then you might be able to decrease your forced cookie intake

     

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  30.  
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    blaktron (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 7:57am

    Re: The problem is America's healthcare system

    And weed the incredible redundancies that exist in that system, which is why Americans pay a greater percentage of their GDP on healthcare than anyone else, and why they die in hospital waiting rooms and get booted to the curb at a greater rate than people in some 3rd world countries.

     

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  31.  
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    richpoore (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:02am

    I thought we were in a capatalist society

    Capatalism works because of competition. Our government needs to shrink and stop protecting companies (persons) from competition.

     

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  32.  
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    A Dan (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    It's just a useful assumption. If a law doesn't specifically say something different regarding corporations, laws regarding individuals apply to corporations as well. It doesn't mean "corporations are people" and it makes a lot of sense, because it means things made illegal for people don't suddenly become legal if they form corporations and do them in the corporations' names. If different rules are meant to apply to corporations, the laws need to list those different rules.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Re: Thieves...

    You were doing really, really good until you decided to get partisan on your comments.

    We can elect the Republican'ts, who will then bend over backwards for big oil, trample your civil rights even further, and hold up the bible and say "anyone not following this book is wrong". Is that what you really want?

    Oh, wait, you could elect a tea bagger. Yeah, they are good. They will cripple the federal government, transfer most of the powers to the states, and then you can live in a country with 50+ sets of different rules that don't match, with nobody in the middle to settle the differences.

    You could elect Ron Paul, but then the term "flip flop" would be the motto for the country.

    Yup. Anyone but Obama, because the choices are all so good.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:36am

    Re: Expensive Medication

    This is why drugs are so expensive in the US. Countries like Canada and Australia force the drug companies to sell the drugs for such a low price that they have to charge those of us in the USA a ridiculous price to recoup the money they put into research and development of the drug rather than charge the same price throughout the world. IF the USA forces them to charge the same low price as in other countries, then the drug companies will simply stop inventing new drugs since it wont be profitable.

     

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  35.  
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    JackHerer (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:39am

    Why are they cheaper in Canada

    I am from the UK, can someone please explain to me why the same drugs are cheaper in Canada than the USA as this seems to be the underlying issue and on a practical level it seems crazy that sending drugs to Canada and back makes them cheaper.

    As an aside here in the UK we are lucky enough to have our prescription costs fixed at £7.40 per item, or £29.10 per 3 months or £104 per year for unlimited items. I think we do pay slightly higher taxes though and there are a very small number of things you can't or are hard to get on NHS prescription like Viagra etc.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:42am

    This is just classic! Classic Obama Administration.

    Wait for it.. Wait for it...

    jobs?
    Obama: "I have a speech for that.."

    Debts?
    Obama: "I have a speech for that, too!"

    Screwing Americans on affordable drugs?
    Obama: "Definitely, I have a speech for that also.."


    Jeez man. We can't live on speeches alone...

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Patience grasshopper. You will get your logical smacking in due time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:50am

    Re: Expensive Medication

    Guns don't kill people, dollars do.

     

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  39.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    In the eyes of the law, Corporations are considered to be people. But there is one huge problem: when do they die? In Feudalism, we have a monarch who constantly controls the kingdom, all assets passed to the first born male. This was extremely unfair to anyone who wasn't the monarch. So, we went to Democracy. This is better, because everything gets divided more equally when the capital holder expires. Except that corporations never die. They are mini-kingdoms run by an appointed CEO and a bunch of other "presidents" that no one voted for.
    The solution? Give them an expiration date. Put it in the charter that they will be dissolved in no more than 100 years (no one has a business life longer than that!), and that all physical and financial assets will be distributed to the shareholders, and all intellectual assets would enter the public domain.
    The simple fact is, we need to stop feeding kings and queens.

     

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  40.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Re:

    But we can live on Zombie Apocalypses. The problem is endemic in the hybrid Republic/Collegiate voting system you have - it allows for not only a collusive attitude when you have politics as a complete career choice, and a donations system that benefits large companies more, and allows for legal corruption.

    It's not just Obama; it's the entire goddamned system that needs nuking and rebuilding, with the Public (NOT Private Entities, i.e. corporations) in mind.

     

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  41.  
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    JackHerer (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Expensive Medication

    It is fairly well documented that drug companies spend twice as much on marketing than on r&d http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080105140107.htm

     

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  42.  
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    Micah, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 9:11am

    Re: What?!

    No people will turn to places that have not been certified as legitimate such as many options on our southern border. Not the streets.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Good old drug patents. A high blood pressure pill (made by a Japanese company no less) that worked really well for me has a patent until 2016. It was a top tier drug on my insurance plan and was $50 a month. My insurance changed to not cover that anymore. 30 pills of it at retail price was $450. If I went on a Canadian site and ordered the generic version from India it was $30. The US consumers get raped by the drug companies. They care about profits period. Fortunately for me a drug in the same class had it's patent expire in 2010. Works just as good and costs $7 for 30 pills even without insurance.

     

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  44.  
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    into_the_red, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 9:27am

    Google evil. Rich people bad. Except when Mike against them, then corporations good.

     

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  45.  
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    A Dan (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Expensive Medication

    "IF the USA forces them to charge the same low price as in other countries, then the drug companies will simply stop inventing new drugs since it wont be profitable."

    And if we stop giving people patents then nothing will be invented. If we get rid of copyright nobody will make write or create movies anymore. If we get rid of trademarks, every product will have the same name.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Thieves...

    Libertarian is the way. The Democrats and Republicans are two faces of the same corrupt coin. But the US voters are retarded and would rather fight with the opposite party instead of using their brains and saving the US from the police state, by the corporations for the corporations, path it's on.

     

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  47.  
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    bjupton, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: Why are they cheaper in Canada

    Well, they are cheaper in Canada vs the USA due to a combination of laws. There's no logic to it, except that those who make the laws in the US are influenced by more than just their people for their pricing rules.

    Well, there's logic to it...

     

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  48.  
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    NHS, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 9:53am

    The Good Old NHS

    Ah - you know Sarah Palin's "Nazi death panel NHS" appears to be able to knock out prescription drugs at a fixed price for all UK residents. No-one loses their house paying to treat their illness.

    Healthcare free at the point of consumption - for all.

    Oh - yes we do have a "big" government, which curiously spends LESS per capita than the US government does on health. That's weird - I always thought big government did the opposite.

     

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  49.  
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    MrWilson, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    Or better, we need capital punishment for corporations. If a company's products kill people and the company knew it would happen, they are guilty of murder. That should mean an immediate dissolving of the company and the shareholders and corporate officers who failed to rein in the conduct are financially liable.

     

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  50.  
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    Roy (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:16am

    This really isn't that complicated

    This has nothing to do with drugs or protecting the American public or American drug companies - although your leaders certainly would like people to see it that way.

    This is about money, plain and simple.

    America is broke. America has been broke, very broke, nearly broke and flat broke for a very long time now. Debt is spiraling out of control and deficits, of mind-numbing proportions, continue to be run - year after year. The American Government simply can't bring in enough revenue to pay its expenses with the current taxation-based revenue stream. The ongoing political roadblock (the solving of which makes peace in the middle east look easy) guarantees that the status quo will be maintained - so no solution to the problem is forthcoming and the government is now turning to alternative sources of revenue.

    Which leads to this shakedown of various businesses through settlements or fines. Not unlike the concepts of Righthaven (or various other shakedown artists many of which are featured in posts on this site) the government is going after low hanging fruit that, it hopes, will roll over and pay rather than fight.

    This is about money - the government needs it, the companies have it, it can't be obtained through taxation so - lawsuits and fines all around!

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    America is the greatest nation to ever exist so I think Canada should be doing what the US is doing, duh!

     

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  52.  
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    bjupton (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Re: The Good Old NHS

    It is pretty amazing that we call what we have in the US a free market for health care.

    Our health care market is just as controlled and regulated as the UKs. It is just that rather than controlled and regulated so as to provide quality care to all citizens, it is controlled and regulated to provide maximal profit from its citizens.

    We have all the negatives of a state controlled market, yet none of the positives. It is an awesome system.

     

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  53.  
    icon
    rxrightsadvocate (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Americans rely on safe, affordable drug importation

    Mike, thank you for highlighting a key point that we've been emphasizing for a while. Not all Canadian pharmacies "sell fake and fraudulent (and potentially dangerous) drugs." There are licensed, legitimate pharmacies that sell safe prescription medications at reasonable prices. In these tough economic times, over a million Americans rely on drug importation to afford their needed medications.

    RxRights is a national coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting and protecting American consumer access to sources of safe, affordable prescription drugs. We have been encouraging Americans to send letters to Congress and President Obama urging them to protect our right to access safe, affordable medications. For more information or to voice your concern, visit www.RxRights.org.

    Lee Graczyk, RxRights

     

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  54.  
    icon
    rxrightsadvocate (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:37am

    Re: Why are they cheaper in Canada

    Unlike other industrialized countries, the U.S. doesn’t negotiate drug prices with or set profit margins for drug companies. As a result, American consumers pay excessive prices for our prescription drugs. We pay an average of twice as much, for example, as our neighbors in Canada for identical drugs.

     

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  55.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    But this settlement doesn't stop people from being able to get to these places, only that Google can't display ads for them. The people who are already using the Canadian pharmacies aren't affected. It's the people who haven't found a Canadian pharmacy yet that will be, but they can't speak out because they haven't been affected yet, or don't yet realize that they've been affected.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    bob, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Hmmm... Let's see how humans are treated in FLA.

    While I understand that Big Pharma wants to charge more in the US than in other countries and this steep premium is a bitter pill to swallow, the money for the research has to come from somewhere. The university research only goes so far and the drug companies need to pay for it somehow. If we want fewer cancer drugs, we can just shrink the premium.

    But let's get back to Google. Why are they exempt from the laws? Can anyone program their servers to do the work and escape jail?

    Let's see what's happening in Florida:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/us/01drugs.html

    The police are closing down pharmacies and sending both doctors and pharmacists to jail. Jail. No petty fine. No blathering on and on about how the pharmacist's conversations are some how protected by the 1st amendment.

    So Google should consider itself lucky. Very lucky.

    And Mike, you might want to look at which ads Google is automagically placing next to this story. I wonder if some of them aren't for a similarly sketchy operation. But hey, you can just claim that the software did it.

     

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  57.  
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    blaktron (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, Sir, but we prefer solvency up here ;)

     

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  58.  
    icon
    blaktron (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re:

    Maybe this will finally be what pushes people to use Bing

     

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  59.  
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    crade (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re: Hmmm... Let's see how humans are treated in FLA.

    what are you blathering on and on about? You do realize google is a search engine and doesn't sell drugs right? They display ads. On the internet. You get that right? Ads for *legal* services. If the US doesn't want to let people import drugs from Canada, they just have to say so and make it illegal and let the people die instead. Just make up your mind, either you want em or you don't.

     

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  60.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    This mechanism exists right now. It's called revoking their charter. It isn't done so much nowadays (although you do hear of it every so often), but it's the primary control society has over corporate misbehavior.

    A corporation is a legal fiction and only exists because the government issues a charter for it. The charter used to (maybe still does, I don't know) come with various conditions such as not harming society, obeying laws, and generally being reasonably decent citizens of society. When a corporation misbehaved, that violated the charter which was then revoked and the corporation no longer existed. This was not a terribly rare occurrence.

    We need to start doing this again.

     

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  61.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Expensive Medication

    This is why drugs are so expensive in the US. Countries like Canada and Australia force the drug companies to sell the drugs for such a low price that they have to charge those of us in the USA a ridiculous price to recoup the money


    This is complete nonsense. Nobody is forcing the drug companies to sell their drugs cheap. If it's so unprofitable for the drug companies to match the prices the governments require, they can (and should) simply not sell in those countries.

    The R&D cost argument is also complete nonsense, as the drug companies spend far for on advertising than R&D, and even then most of the R&D is being spent mostly on high-profit drugs nobody needs (ED drugs, etc.) For certain classes of essential, but not-as-profitable drugs, such as antibiotics, there is almost no R&D money spent.

    Also, the drug companies are among the most profitable in the world, and got that way by charging far more than the drugs cost them, including development costs. They are doing what all predatory capitalists do -- charging what the market will bear and buying laws to ensure the market will bear the highest possible cost.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    bob, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Hmmm... Let's see how humans are treated in FLA.

    Dude, you don't pay attention do you. The ads weren't always for legal services and the old Google charm didn't work this time. They had to pay $500m to get out of jail. Running advertising for a product means you're part of the industry.

    And there's something looney about the idea that prosecuting people will lead someone to die. First, the drugs are controlled because they're dangerous. It's not a good idea to take them just because you type something into Google. Second, the US drug biz may be expensive, but it will deliver these drugs. If the drugs aren't available for legal purchase in the US, maybe the FDA has a good reason.

     

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  63.  
    icon
    Someantimalwareguy (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Americans rely on safe, affordable drug importation

    Good cause and action taken - keep up the pressure and let's hope someone in Washington gets the message. Also, if you have a chance to confront your representatives and/or Senators before the next election, please make sure you get in their faces publicly about this...loudly.

     

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  64.  
    icon
    Squirrel Brains (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That is not the point. A common market would be established by removing trade barriers between the two countries. It is not a matter of sovereignty or any side becoming less independent. It would, however, severely limit the ability to price discriminate between the two countries. Nothing about this advocates Canada adopting the politics of the US. So, your mocking tone fails miserably.

     

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  65.  
    icon
    BeeAitch (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Does Bing advertise Canadian drugs? I honestly don't know, I don't use Bing.

    If so, won't they eventually face the same challenge?

     

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  66.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So start your own blog, already.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hmmm... Let's see how humans are treated in FLA.

    No, running ads for an industry means you're a communications service. Nothing more, nothing less. Just because I put an ad for Ford on a billboard does NOT make me a part of the automotive industry (to use a favorite).

     

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  68.  
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    crade (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hmmm... Let's see how humans are treated in FLA.

    heh, I happen to live in Canada so I know the drugs are the same right down to the same brand and manufacturer in most of cases, but seriously if they think they are dangerous and want the importing to stop it is well within the govt's power to shut down that business. They basically only have to say stop, but they don't because people will get pissed off. As pointed out in the article, they are still intentionally "looking the other way" and or even encouraging people who want to fill their perscriptions in Canada. They have honey in one hand and a stick in the other.

    Your notion that because it rents ad space, google is reponsible for policing the companies that buy the ad space from them is utterly ridiculous. Give blame where it's due, not just to whoever has the money and is the easiest target. Not sure why they haven't thrown the post office in jail yet, they are a heck of a lot more involved than google is, they actually do the importing.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Tim Smith, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    Safe Canadian Online Pharmacies help Americans

    Mike, we've been following your writings and appreciate the proper perspective you are bringing to many issues such as Protect IP and the Google settlement. This article recognizes the distinction between our trusted pharmacies and dangerous pharmacies that sell medications without valid prescriptions, push controlled substances, or masquerade as Canadian.

    The prescription medications that are “legitimate drugs, but are just more reasonably priced” come from licensed pharmacies, such as Jan Drugs, which are accredited through the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA).

    With a 100 percent safety record, CIPA continues to be the gold standard for distance care pharmacy services because of its strict safety protocols that have been in place since the organization was founded nearly a decade ago. CIPA members are recognized as safe and legitimate by PharmacyChecker.com, Pharmacy Accreditation Services and buySAFE.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    trish, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 2:38pm

    you know...

    Of all things to get protectionist about, drugs! 'Healthcare' is one of the biggest moneymakers in the US and the government has no problem making it so only the rich can afford to live! Is it considered unamerican to care?

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Sep 1st, 2011 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    I was aware of the concept of revoking the charter, but since it happens so rarely, and seemingly never when absolutely called for (e.g. Enron, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs), we might as well recognize that it's not really considered an option by anyone with the ability to do it.

     

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  72.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    i'd always wondered about the logic behind that. it still has a lot of problems and it'd make more sense for the law to just say 'people and/or corporations' as applicable and where applicable, but still.

    this does lead to a hilarious side effect:

    there are a number of laws floating around in various countries (i am aware of such things in NZ and US law) where, wanting to refer specifically to actual, you know, People, rather than corporations, they have to specify 'real people'.

    i figure the only reason they don't use the term 'human' is in case we encounter aliens or something. (it's debateable if an AI counts as a 'real person' or falls in the same slot as a corporation, for example.)

    on the subject of corporate charters: once upon a time corporations had a specific end goal. once that goal was completed (and it was almost always something that could not be done by either the government or normal business) the corporation was wrapped up, it payed out to the investors and either it's parts were sold off or it defaulted into government ownership, depending on it's purpose.
    (sometimes there was simply a time limit instead, i suppose)

    that end goal was not, and should never have been, to generate profit for the shareholders. that was the How of it's function, not the Why. profits were a reward for work done well and used to facilitate the continuation of that work. they were not the goal of the corporation itself or it's charter, even if they were the goal of the individuals who made up that corporation.

    somewhere along the way this thought seems to have been lost.

    any corporation taking actions contrary to the goal it was created for (hint: game publishing companies? yeah, your charter should be to Publish Games. not make money for the shareholders. crap like DRM is undermining that.) in favour of lining the pockets of its shareholders should lose it's charter pretty much immediately. (how much more so those that undermine their ability to function to make the CEO rich when he retires.)

    .... or at least, this is my understanding of things.

    also, i cannot think of a single good reason why any corporation who's purpose is not moving things from one country to another should Ever be a multi-national. all that does is remove them from under the effective authority of the only limiters on their behaviour that exist.

     

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  73.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Thieves...

    libertarianism has a small problem:

    it doesn't actually work.

    take a look at what actually does and doesn't work in the world and you find that almost without fail, the ones that Work are the ones that actually balance all the factors properly.

    tossing out one extremist ideological idiocy for another one just gets you a string of revolts and revolutions. (not all of them armed and bloody, mind you) especially if the general public does not realise how extream the original position was, (and while no one's codified it to the best of my knowledge, the USA is an extremely plutocratic bureaucracy).

    also, the more economic freedom you build into a national system, the more corporate monopolies you get abusing the public. the more freedom you restrict within the system, the more ideological abuse it suffers at the hands of incompetents in government more interested in votes and power than in running things properly. i'm sure you can see the issue.

    that said, if you want a more friendly-to-the-people economy, stop trying to manage it at an imperial (i'm sorry, federal) level, forget the arbitrary nonsense that is the state level: run it at the city-region level. also give up on the horribly damaging idea that is free trade, even between those city-regions. in reality, all free trade does in entrench the dominant party in a given industry and destroy the capacity for competitors to arise in other areas where there would otherwise actually be demand for such.

    (that said: export subsidies are always a suicidally stupid ideal, economically speaking. sure, subsidize start-up costs for an industry you want in your area, subsidise necessary things that would otherwise be too expensive for the local market to support, but the moment you start pumping money into making stuff that is demanded elsewhere, and that your own people do not benefit from, you are overspecialising and will find yourself in a massive hole when demand drops off due to other suppliers having similar ideas or a completely different product replacing what you were making.)

     

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  74.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:32pm

    Re: I thought we were in a capatalist society

    the USA is, whatever it choses to name itself, a Plutocratic Beaurocracy running an Empire.

    the government itself cannot shrink unless the nation breaks up into component parts. it is possible to reorganise it to make it less useless, but making it smaller doesn't help.

    it does need to stop protecting companies from competition, yes, but stop and consider: the natural result of capitalisms is a monopoly. every. single. time. the only available counter force to this is government regulation.

    the Problem is that governments have a bad habit of supporting entrenched predatory corporations over newly created ones, thus undermining their role as a counteracting force in favour of building themselves up as a contributing force towards that inevitable monopoly.

     

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  75.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Re: Why are they cheaper in Canada

    logic without rationality and morality is insanity.

    (rationality without logic has similar issues, and morality without rationality is a bomb waiting to go off, though sometimes a dud. broken morality + broken logic - rationality gets you militant religious fundamentalists conducting terrorist operations.)

     

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  76.  
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    Chargone (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:37pm

    Re:

    hey, at least his speeches are coherent. I'd say that's a step up.

    (of course, starting several kilometres under ground, it's gonna take a lot of steps up to get to somewhere worth Being.)

     

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  77.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:39pm

    Re:

    *blinks* that... doesn't make much sense and doesn't actually line up with the nature of the articles (or in the case of this article, comments) posted here.

    nice job being completely irrelevant.

     

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  78.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Sep 1st, 2011 @ 10:44pm

    Re: you know...

    unless you're talking about corporate profits or campaign contributions...

    apparently.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2011 @ 1:33am

    What does "the administration" have to do with things?

    Please excuse my ignorance, but as a non American, I don't understand how the President and therefore "the administration" "goes after" people, be it this article about Google or others about MPAA and RIAA. Presumably the staff in these different departments are public servants following appropriate legislation etc. defined by your Senate and House of Representatives (are those the correct terms?), so can "the administration" just change the direction of the departments, or is it like turning an oil tanker and takes quite a while?

    Just how much day to day control of events such as this does "the administration" have?

     

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  80.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Sep 2nd, 2011 @ 2:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    Soylent green is corporations.


    hmmm. I quite like that quote now! ;)

     

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  81.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Sep 2nd, 2011 @ 2:46am

    Re: Re: Expensive Medication

    This is why drugs are so expensive in the US. Countries like Canada and Australia force the drug companies to sell the drugs for such a low price that they have to charge those of us in the USA a ridiculous price to recoup the money

    WTF!

    One question... what drugs are you on?

     

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  82.  
    icon
    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 2nd, 2011 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Drug Companies

    He may also be referring to January 21, 2010, when the U.S. Supreme Court unleashed a flood of corporate money into our political system by deciding, contrary to longstanding precedents, that corporate "persons" have a constitutional right to spend essentially unlimited amounts of money to promote or defeat political candidates.

    The decision in this historic case (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) overturned about a century of campaign finance law. Reversing the well-established laws and judicial precedents barring direct corporate and union financing of elections.

    {Begin Shameless Plug}
    I am trying to get signatures on a petition (via Public Citizen) For a Constitutional Amendment to Overturn this Supreme Court Decision Allowing Unlimited Corporate Influence in Elections
    {End Shameless Plug}

     

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  83.  
    icon
    Gumnos (profile), Sep 4th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    Death before a response

    They wrote, but died before getting any response because they could no longer afford the drugs keeping them alive.
    ...but the death of a concerned citizen won't stop a skilled politician from winning their vote...

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Michael, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:15am

    Re:

    They have been speaking up for decades. No one is listening.

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    m, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Re: no solution

    Access to BRAND name drugs is the reason I am looking outside the US-Generics of 'CERTAIN' drugs are NOT equivalent and all generics have a wider margin of error for the 'active' ingredient-I have data and studies done by 'The People's Pharmacy' authors describing the near suicides of multiple people due to Wellbutrin and Prozac generics-My father was a CEO of many Corps and ALWAYS said they are NOT the 'Same' True certain things /drugs are not a big deal-however Birth control and antidepressants have some frightening stats-and do not expect to hear this EVER-Generics are not a 'TOTAL' solution-Choice is-I have a godchild of 5 now due to my 50y r old girlfriends new 'Generic Plan' he is adorable-however-do not mistake generics as 'The Same'-
    WRONG-

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    r, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Re: no solution

    No solution-Access to local pharmacy and BRAND name drugs should be 'reasonably' priced-forcing me to use some no name online generic that is covered by blue cross is-WRONG-

    Ever checked ANY stats of FDA checking of 'generics' ? No ? Right because they are at the golf course-

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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