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Microsoft alleged to profit from illegal pharmacies

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Microsoft alleged to profit from illegal pharmacies

Arlington, Va – Virtually all of the pharmacies featured in Bing.com’s sponsored search results are dodgy, according to online pharmacy verification service LegitScript and KnujOn.com, an Internet compliance company.

The two companies have released a report analyzing the online advertisements for Internet pharmacies displayed by Bing. The report indicates that 89.7 percent of the Microsoft Internet pharmacy advertisements reviewed by the authors were fake or illegal Internet pharmacies. This matters: Microsoft gets paid every time a user clicks on one of these ads, meaning the company is profiting from illegal activity.

Most of the Internet pharmacy advertisements analyzed in the report did not require a valid prescription. The authors were able to order a prescription-only muscle relaxant from a Microsoft-sponsored Internet pharmacy advertisement without any prescription. Another prescription drug from a Microsoft-sponsored advertisement tested positive as counterfeit.

LegitScript President John Horton said, “We were able to purchase potentially addictive drugs without a prescription or any age verification via bing.com ads. We also received counterfeit medication. Microsoft profits from these illegal ads, which put Internet users at risk.”

“These bing.com ads aren’t real pharmacies,” said Garth Bruen, KnujOn’s President. “These types of sites are usually the product of organized crime and vast illicit drug networks, many of them based in Russia and Eastern Europe, that deceive, defraud and poison Internet users.”

The study also found disclosure gaps in bing.com’s advertising program, showing how an advertisement that appears to have been placed by a legitimate pharmacy links instead to a “rogue” online pharmacy.

“We urge Microsoft to fix this problem,” Horton and Bruen stated. “By continuing to allow these advertisements, Microsoft is facilitating prescription drug abuse and the proliferation of counterfeit drugs, both of which put our most vulnerable citizens at risk.”

Microsoft had not commented as we went to press.