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Google Ads as unacceptable advertising

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the court has ruled on a case in which a medical search term led to a Google Ad for a food supplement. The court decided that this is unacceptable publicity for medicines.

The Google Ad for the food supplement appeared after typing in a medical search term.  Although the advertising agency had been explicitly instructed otherwise, the Google advertising did appear after typing in the medical search term. The court judged that this was not sufficiently supervised by the advertising agency.

The court ruled that the advertiser was in violation of the Medicines Act, by advertising on the internet for unregistered medicines. In this case, the unregistered medicine was the food supplement, positioned as a medicine by the medical search term.

With fines around 140.000€, it is of interest to know search terms are considered an integral part of a Google advertisement and excluding certain search term categories does not shield an advertiser from a possible violation. Therefore, it is advised to exclude a list of exact keywords and present this as such to KOAG/KAG for approval.

More information can be found here.

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