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Google Settles Shareholder Suit Over Online Drug Ads

The company will create a $250 million internal program to disrupt rogue online pharmacies.

Reuters / Francois Lenoir

Google has agreed to create a $250 million internal program to disrupt rogue online pharmacies as part of a deal to end shareholder litigation over accusations the search company improperly allowed ads from non-U.S. drug sellers.

Google said it would make content about prescription drug abuse more visible and work with legitimate pharmacies to counter marketing by rogue sellers, documents filed in an Oakland, Calif. federal court on Thursday showed.

Google will allocate and spend at least $50 million a year on the internal effort for at least five years under the settlement. The company has also agreed to pay $9.9 million in fees and expenses to plaintiff attorneys.

Google declined to comment on Friday.

Shareholders sued Google and its board in 2011 after the company reached a settlement with the government over the issue.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is In re Google Inc Shareholder Derivative Litigation, 11-4248.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Richard Chang)

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