Google Shopping Pharmaceutical Product Violations

Google Shopping Pharmaceutical Product Violations

If you are searching and have landed on this article, than you are full aware you have had a recent violation on your Google Shopping Products.

If you are an existing merchant and have had your Google Shopping account for a while than most likely it’s an issue on Google’s validation process. Google uses an automated detection program to detect products that are in violation to Google’s Policy, it also uses 3rd party monitoring services such as legitscript.com. In allot of cases it is more likely that the products are fine and Google has mistakenly flagged your product. It’s a known problem in the Google Shopping community.

If you are a new merchant, than you might need to remove the products, both new or existing merchants could have the same issue. Below is a possible temporarily fix.

First lets explain why Google does this

Google like many other online businesses are regulated, for pharmaceutical products it is governed by the FDA. It’s is prohibited to sell healing products without full disclosure from the manufacturer. To ensure that Google is not in violation, they run the product against the validation service of legitscript.com. Common validations can be specific company related issues, an ingredient that is prohibited or dangerous or even local government issues.

As Google is an international business, it must comply with all the laws for each country. For example if a specific ingredient is prohibited in one country it will mean you can not sell it in another country.

In short, my personal advice as of 2016 is to delete the product and move on.

What do I need to do, if I want to try and sell the product?

To start out, you will need to remove all products that are in violation. Once you are cleared, introduce 1 product at a time with 24 hours delay that had been violated. Before you do this slightly alter the title and description and change the product identifier to a new alphanumeric value. This will trigger Google in re-scanning your product.

If you don’t change the id than Google will not re scan your product.

The reason I suggest to remove the product is that Google only provides you with 7 days to fix Errors. As this is a serious topic I recommend you removing it before your account is suspended.

Google Adwords Team Says Not To Worry!

Google Adwords Team does not deal with these issues and are merely redirecting information from the Shopping team. It is impossible for you to contact Google Shopping as there is currently no official support. If the Adwords Team says not to worry. As much as you want to believe them, in this case don’t. This is a very unknown grey area where a suspension is around the corner waiting for you to pass 7 days.

How To Fix?

Certain Pharmaceutical words have been added to Google’s Block List. Currently I have no idea which ones they are but if you have multiple products that are in violation, than the best way to find out is to cross reference your keywords in the title and description to identify the problem.

When you have changed the title and description, re submit (suggest one at a time until your confident) and await for approval.

As this is currently a hot topic, I would love to hear from you and know which words you have removed, so that I can update this article to help fellow merchants.

A bit more details about Google’s Policy on Pharmaceutical Products

  • Prescription drugs : Currently you can only list prescription drugs on Google Shopping in the US and Canada. You must be accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s
  • Non Prescription drugs :
Country Allowed? Details
Australia Allowed Allowed In Australia, Google allows non-prescription drug listings from online pharmacies whose websites promote online prescription services if they’re registered with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia or Medicare Australia. Merchants must also be certified by Google.
Brazil Allowed Allowed In Brazil, Google allows non-prescription drug listings from online pharmacies whose websites promote online prescription services if they’re registered with the National Health Inspection Agency (Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária – ANVISA). Merchants must also be certified by Google.
Canada Allowed Allowed (including pet pharmacies) In Canada, Google allows non-prescription drug listings from online pharmacies whose websites promote online prescription services (including pet pharmacies) if they are accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy VIPPS program. Your store’s accreditation can be checked on the NABP website. Merchants must also be certified by Google.
Germany Allowed Allowed In Germany, Google allows non-prescription drug listings from online pharmacies whose websites promote online prescription services if they’re registered in the DIMDI register. Merchants must also be certified by Google.
Japan Allowed Allowed In Japan, Google allows non-prescription drug listings from online pharmacies whose websites promote online prescription services as long as they provide a valid license number for their “License for marketing authorization holder.” Merchants must also be certified by Google.
Netherlands Allowed Allowed In the Netherlands, Google allows non-prescription drug listings from online pharmacies whose websites promote online prescription services if they’re registered with the Registratie en Informatie Beroepsbeoefenaren in de Zorg (RIBIZ) in its BIG register. Merchants must also be certified by Google.
Sweden Allowed Allowed In Sweden, Google allows non-prescription drug listings from online pharmacies whose websites promote online prescription services if they’re registered with the Swedish Medical Product Agency. Merchants must also be certified by Google.
United Kingdom Allowed Allowed In the United Kingdom, Google allows non-prescription drug listings from online pharmacies whose websites promote online prescription services if they’re registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Merchants must also be certified by Google.
United States Allowed Allowed (including pet pharmacies) In the United States, Google allows non-prescription drug listings from online pharmacies whose websites promote online prescription services (including pet pharmacies) if they are accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy VIPPS program. Your store’s accreditation can be checked on the NABP website. Merchants must also be certified by Google.
  • Unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements : Can not be listed on in any country
  • Abortion related products :
    • Can not be listed in the following countries : (Abortion and abortion-related products)
      • Belgium
      • Brazil
      • France
      • Germany
      • Mexico
      • Poland
      • Russia
      • Switzerland
    • Can not be listed in the following countries : (Abortion, abortion-inducing drugs and the “morning after” pill)
      • Australia
      • Italy
      • India
      • Spain
    • Can not be listed in the following countries : (Abortion-inducing drugs)
      • United Kingdom
  • Pet prescription and pharmacies : Are not allowed outside United States and Canada
  • Medical equipment : Are not allowed outside United States and Canada
  • HIV home test : Only aloud in United States
  • Secret paternity tests : not aloud

For a more detailed list and explenation, please visit Google’s Shopping Healthcare Policy