Google allows online pharmacies in Kenya to run pharmaceutical ads

Google office signage.  

Photo credit: File Photo | Nation Media Group

Kenya has obtained approval from online search tool Google to run pharmaceutical advertisements across the tech giant’s platforms, becoming the first country in Africa and one among 24 worldwide to secure the go-ahead to promote prescription medicine and related services on the platform.

The tech giant says online pharmacies that wish to serve adverts on the platform will be required to have been registered with the relevant pharmaceutical authorities for them to obtain ads certification.

“Google restricts the promotion of online pharmacies. To determine whether an advertiser is promoting an online pharmacy, we consider a number of factors such as the content of your ads and site or app, as well as the products or services that you offer,” writes Google in its policy statement.

The current list of 24 countries already approved by the tech firm include 12 from Europe among them Germany, Russia, Norway, Portugal, Austria, Czech, Denmark, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, France and the United Kingdom as well as five from Asia among them China, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The Americas has Brazil, Mexico, the United States and Canada on the list while Oceania has Australia and New Zealand.

Online health platform MyDawa CEO Priscilla Muhiu said that the opening of the space is a significant step towards efficient delivery of education regarding the benefits of various sets of medication to the public, but was quick to note that the effort would be derailed by prohibition from the regulator against advertisement of prescription medicine.

“We are regulated by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) and they don’t allow advertising of prescription medication. Unless that changes, it will not be possible to advertise the drugs even if Google allows it,” said Muhiu in a text response to Business Daily queries.

“I however do appreciate the reason why the regulation is there. It prevents overselling of the benefits that can be harmful to the patients.”

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