SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc has agreed to create a $250 million internal program to disrupt rogue online pharmacies as part of a deal to end shareholder litigation over accusations the search company improperly allowed ads from non-U.S. drug sellers.
Google said it would make content about prescription drug abuse more visible and work with legitimate pharmacies to counter marketing by rogue sellers, documents filed in an Oakland, California federal court on Thursday showed.
Google will allocate and spend at least $50 million a year to the internal effort for at least five years under the settlement. The company has also agreed to pay $9.9 million in fees and expenses to plaintiff attorneys.
“We’ve been investing very significantly to fight rogue online pharmacies, and have stopped millions of ads from appearing,” a Google spokesman said in an email. “This settlement will continue and expand these ongoing efforts to keep users safe online.”
Shareholders sued Google and its board in 2011 after the company reached a settlement with the government over the issue.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is In re Google Inc Shareholder Derivative Litigation, 11-4248.
Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Richard Chang and Andrew Hay