(NaturalNews) It appears as though mega-media enterprise Google (remember when it was just a search engine?) is expanding its corporate horizons. Now, it seems, the company wants to "protect" our pharmaceutical supplies.
According to a report by National Journal (NJ), under the premise of ensuring that prescriptions being bought online by patients are genuine and not counterfeit, Google -- among other "major Internet players" -- are working with the U.S. government to "battle the problem." The report notes:
Illegal online pharmacies are a particularly dangerous and elusive sector of the growing problem of counterfeit drugs. The scope of the Internet compounds the rapid globalization of the drug supply chain and its increasingly dangerous misuse, making illegal sellers more difficult to trace.
The answer, according to Google and others, is to protect the interests of Big Pharma:
Aiming to pinpoint and verify every alleged online pharmacy is near-impossible, so the focus is instead on limiting their use through consumer education, restricting their appearance in Internet searches, and enforcing harsher punishment.
More propaganda, indoctrination and government control
At present, according to estimates, there are somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 active Internet pharmacies. Of those surveyed, 97 percent did not meet U.S. standards, according to a study conducted by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, an industry group. "Not approved" could mean that the online pharmacies have not been approved by the FDA, their pharmacists have not been licensed by the state licensing board or certain industry interests are ticked off because the 97 percent have merely been operating outside of their control.
There are counterfeit drugs on the market, to be sure, and many are produced in less-than-sanitary conditions. They may not include a smidgen of active pharmaceutical ingredient; they may be the wrong dosage; they may have incorrect ingredients, and some could be poisonous.
But how can Google's involvement correct this? And why isn't the media giant at all interested in helping out, say, holistic and natural medicine providers who would be more than happy to certify their remedies and ingredients as pure and safe? And really, does Google care -- as long as the company makes money from someone selling medications?
For its part, the federal government (not surprisingly) finds its answer in more regulation. The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act passed in 2012 and the Drug Quality and Security Act of 2013 "include guidance regarding safety of the legitimate drug supply chain," NJ reported. "Both laws are in the process of being implemented, and they involve tighter track and trace security as drugs travel between manufacturer and patient."
Yet, regulating Internet pharmacies is not even possible. They sell directly to customers.
And that's a problem for Big Pharma -- they get bypassed.
"There is no one easy bullet or easy solution," Bruce Longbottom, assistant general counsel for Eli Lilly, said at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing recently. His suggestions included "patient education" (indoctrination), stronger laws (that would prevent anyone from buying from any Big Pharma company "not approved" by Uncle Sam) and stronger enforcement of existing laws (because no American company seems willing to survive on its own today, without paying protection money in the form of campaign contributions to Congress). Typical crony capitalism.
Oh, and of course, cooperation with the Internet giants is necessary too.
Google doesn't have a good reputation in the online pharmaceutical business as it is
But again -- why Google? Is this company even reliable? Not very, as NJ reports:
Google, in particular, does not have a clean record in dealing with international online pharmacies. The company previously allowed Canadian sellers to advertise through its AdWords program, targeting American consumers and illegally importing drugs into the U.S. A settlement was reached in 2011, in which Google forfeited $500 million and agreed to a set of measures to ensure reporting of counterfeit drug sales to the federal government.
In fact, the National Association of Attorneys General reported in June 2013 that Google was continuing "to allow ads for illegal online pharmacies that sell counterfeit or illegal drugs."
As a way to rehabilitate its reputation with the government, no doubt, Google -- after the 2011 bust -- became a member of the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies, a non-profit organization formed in 2011 to ostensibly promote secure online pharmacies through "education, enforcement and information-sharing" -- three goals that sound a lot like the "solutions" being parroted by Big Pharma.
Other members of this club include Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo!, Visa, American Express, UPS and others.
"The group aims to partner with government officials, health providers, law enforcement, and other groups to educate patients about finding safe medicine online; aid law enforcement efforts; and create a public list of safe websites for consumers," NJ reported.