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Ephedra and ephedrine ads to be banned
Google cuts the cord on ephedra ads

 12:53 am on Jul 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google sent me an e-mail today addressing me as an AdWords Advertiser, though they sent it to the e-mail account that I use for managing AdSense, for whatever that's worth.

The note informed me that "in the coming weeks" Google will no longer accept AdWords ads promoting the sale of ephedra or "ephedrine-based" products. I was notified because Google's system identified my account as being one that will potentially be affected by the change.

It actually surprises me that it took this long for Google to make the move. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.



 1:21 pm on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am real surprised that it took this long.


 4:00 pm on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Are there really people out their purchasing hardcore pills on the web instead of visiting a doctor?


 4:03 pm on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Lots and lots of them. It's a much bigger problem than is talked about. Nevermind the rise of Meth use and Ephedrine (or pseudophedrine) being a component of it's production.

And yeah, I didn't realize they were permitted still. I figured they'd have killed those ages ago.

[edited by: Jbrookins at 4:05 pm (utc) on July 12, 2007]


 4:25 pm on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I didn't even realize it was legal to sell in the US anymore? /sarcasm

With any hope, sellers in the US will be turned over to the po-po by google but I doubt that would ever happen.



 5:54 pm on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can understand the issues with ephedra or "ephedrine-based" products since they're known to have medical problems.

But what about ads for other prescription drugs like Ambien CR?


 6:10 pm on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Are there really people out their purchasing hardcore pills on the web instead of visiting a doctor?

TONS. I work in the rehab field on the AdWords side, and that's what we see over and over - people can't get them from their doctors anymore, so they get them online. I dunno how, because I thought it was illegal too, but they do.

But what about ads for other prescription drugs like Ambien CR?

Google already has a bunch of rules about this, both on the pharmacy and trademark level.


 8:27 pm on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ephedra was banned in the US a few years back (mainly due to people misusing it for dieting and/or bodybuilding). But then there was some federal court ruling that put the ban on "hold." I am not sure what the final resolution was.

Ephedrine/Pseudoephedrine has been "restricted" due to conversion to meth. You can still buy it over the counter, but only in limited quantities.


 12:04 am on Jul 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

You can still buy it over the counter, but only in limited quantities

From what I gathered over the last few years it was banned for a period of time, and then it that ruling was overturned and it was legal to buy ephedra at any of those millions of truck stops that sell it anymore. I'm actually surprised Google is going to pull something that's legal. Why not pull porn ads while they're at it. Maybe some litigation behind the scenes is forcing this? What's up with limited quantities any tweaker on the planet can get around that.


 3:02 pm on Jul 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

FDA issued a rule in February 2004 declaring that dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids present an unreasonable risk of illness or injury. Since this rule became effective in April 2004, the government has executed numerous seizures and prosecutions.

There have been at least 81 deaths in the U.S. in recent years that were blamed on ephedra, including Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, who keeled over from heatstroke after taking the herbal stimulant.

Previous FDA attempts to ban the substance were challenged in court but the agency has been aggressively pressing its new ban, which also affected retail OTC sales of pseudoephedrine, a popular anticongestion medication.

It's still a big seller online. Most of the sellers are presumably outside the U.S. and are able to get by with shipping the stuff into the country by not accurately declaring it (or perhaps drop-shipping from a secret U.S. location).

Google's action is not only a good move ethically but also legally. Anyone promoting the sale of any restricted substance -- including Webmasters -- could face prosecution by FDA or any of several other agencies.


 4:41 pm on Jul 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ephedrine/Pseudoephedrine has been "restricted" due to conversion to meth. You can still buy it over the counter, but only in limited quantities.

For this reason alone I'm happy for the decision. Meth is a TERRIBLE epidemic in this country, it's hard not to know someone these days who hasn't messed up their life due to it. These "ingredients" are tough to come by for producers and I'm glad another door is shutting down.


 7:11 pm on Jul 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>I am real surprised that it took this long.

I double that. The internet is a fine place to buy lots of merchandise - it's just not ready for medications right now.


 7:36 am on Jul 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

I did a little more research apparently the ephedra ban was lifted but only for pills containing less then 10 mg of ephedrine. So while it's legal for these truck stops and websites to sell it, they still have to follow that law, and sales of large quantities is suspicious and monitored by legal authorities (since purchases of large quantities are associated with the creation of meth.) I think it's a good move for google to stay out of that mess, but hey don't stop there. Why not pull ads for porn while they're at it? How many porn dealers using AdWords have ties with illegal or shady porn sites, and what are the legal ramifications of that? I'm not trying to hijack this thread, but wouldn't it be best to stay out of that mess too?


 4:32 am on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I lift weights, and a few years back I would drink a bottle of Ripped Force before and during my workouts. It contained Ephedra, and it did make a significant difference in my workouts. Even though the injuries related to ephedra use seemed to stem from overuse of the product, I discontinued its use. I don't see any more of a problem with Google Ads promoting the selling of the product any more than their ads being used to peddle Vicodin or any other prescription drug which is both popular and addictive. Google still allows Americans to circumvent a doctor's visit and order any variety of prescription pain killers or sleep aids from Canada, India or Europe. If you're going to block one type of ad, block them all, because people are essentially obtaining drugs that they more than likely wouldn't be prescribed, or at least not in the amounts that they are able to purchase them.

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