Washington – Google is nearing a settlement with the U.S.
Justice Department over allegations the company illegally accepted ads from foreign
online pharmacies, and is expected to pay up to $500 million in penalties, The
Wall Street Journal reported.

Google disclosed it had set aside the sum for a
potential settlement with the Justice Dept. over an advertising issue in its
earnings report earlier this week.

Citing people familiar with the matter, The
Journal said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Rhode Island and the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) participated in the probe.

The FDA has been going after websites
that sell expired drugs or drugs without a prescription since 2003; early last
year, Google announced it would only accept ads from officially accredited pharmacies
in the U.S. and Canada.

The Journal noted that Google’s purported $500 million
payment would be among the highest penalties ever paid by a company to the


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