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The reason being given, is that advertising of prescription medication is illegal in the UK.
(pdf) British Code of Advertising Practices [cap.org.uk] Section 50.12 states:
Prescription-only medicines may not be advertised to the public. Health-related claims in advertisements and promotions addressed only to the medical, dental, veterinary and allied professions are exempt from the Codes.
How far and wide this will range is unknown, but it looks like there are some powerful hands moving this forward, and other engines will likely follow suit.
We are looking for further comfirmations and info.
Can a "paid-for" listing (such as a PPC listing) when one does a search be classified as an advert? If this is deemed to be the case, how would one classify the normal indexing process? ie a search for "prescription only widgets" will bring up SERPs that feature sites selling "prescription only widgets" - is this an ad?
Sponsored sites is provided by Overture as most of us know.
Personally I think that all the others will be following suit in the next few weeks.
It still seems to me to be a little strange that the actual Featured Ad sites have been removed while allowing the Overture ads to remain as it's presumably an attempt to put the onus on Overture to put its own house in order while denying any responsibility for promoting their adverts. Got to be a few arguments on both sides over this issue.
Even more recently I know that some of these "prescription only widgets" sites have been doing tremendously well out of their PPC advertising that coincided with the launch of a new kind of Super Widget in the UK.
Seems as if manufactured hay will be in short supply imminently, though, as the Sun may already have set and be slowly sinking into the dark.
I think future advertising of "Any Kind" and NOT just limited to search engines.
I know 1 of the lawyers dealing with 1 of the cases is a reader/member of Webmasterworld, however I doubt we can expect any comments, as there may be legal proceedings which will follow.
No scrupple optimizers maybe a wind-fall, please.......no spiel about google not allowing!
It is the usual case of the bureaucrats in the UK "trying to be seen as doing the right thing" when they in actual fact do not care a toss, because they have done their job, and wash their hands of the problem.
Of course the easy option as always, and their beloved public realise what a wonderful job they do.
However, I would be interested to know thoughts about filling the void. There will always be a market for products such as Viagra and Xenical because there are a great number of people who are to embarrassed or ashamed to walk up to the counter. Will this move by the engines remove the "dodgy dealers" leaving a more certified or "Government-approved" doorway for companies to be registered and licenced?
That's true, but being able to just 'get them from the counter' means they're not prescription drugs. You have to get a prescription from a doctor to get prescription drugs.
I'm not 100% sure on this, but I believe importing prescription drugs into the UK is illegal.
Advocating that some embarassed guy in the UK should have the right to import viagra is no different to saying he should be able to import steroids, simply because they're available as a prescription drug, and he's too 'embarassed to get them from a doctor.'
That said.. is viagra actually a prescription drug in the UK?
People do get them over the counter, but getting them requires a prescription without which the drugstore won't sell them. So they are really prescription drugs.