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Google fined $500m for illegal advertising

The US-based multinational corporation was profiting from the illegal sale of drugs from Canada.

In one of the largest settlements of its kind, Google has paid the US government $500 million (£306 million) in compensation for advertising illegal drugs.

In a possible breach of the US Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Controlled Substances Act, Google allowed Canadian pharmacies to advertise drugs to US customers through its AdWord programme.

Drugs that were either illegal in America or only obtainable via prescription were sold illegally, generating $500 million in profits for the pharmacies and Google. This is the amount Google has now paid back.

A Google spokesperson said: "We banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the U.S. by Canadian pharmacies some time ago. However, it's obvious with hindsight that we shouldn't have allowed these ads on Google in the first place. Given the extensive coverage this settlement has already received, we won't be commenting further."