Google updates Ad Policy for Public Health campaigns in France

Google to allow certified French public health organizations to use prescription drug terms in Ads promoting safe use.

Google updates Ad Policy for Public Health campaigns in France
Google updates Ad Policy for Public Health campaigns in France

Google Ads yesterday announced an update to its Healthcare and medicines policy, specifically for campaigns promoting public health and safety awareness in France. This change, effective in August 2024, allows certified governmental and well-established non-profit health advocacy organizations to use prescription drug terms, including those for opioid painkillers, in their advertisements.

Google Ads generally restricts the promotion of online pharmacies and the sale of prescription drugs. This policy aims to protect users from potential risks associated with online sales of medication and ensure they consult a healthcare professional before using prescription drugs.

Opioid misuse and addiction are significant public health concerns globally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription opioid misuse was involved in over 467,000 deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2020. France, too, has seen a rise in opioid-related deaths in recent years, according to a 2020 report by the French Observatory on Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT).

Public health campaigns play a crucial role in raising awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and promoting responsible use. Previously, these campaigns in France were limited in their ability to directly reference specific prescription drugs due to Google's advertising policies.

The updated policy introduces a certification process for governmental and well-established non-profit health advocacy organizations in France. Once certified by Google, these organizations can use prescription drug terms, including those for opioid painkillers, in their ad text, landing pages, and keywords. This will allow them to create more targeted and effective campaigns to educate the public about the risks of prescription drug misuse.

The application process for certification will open on August 27, 2024. Details on eligibility requirements, application materials, and the review process are expected to be available on the Google Ads Help Center closer to the opening date.

Google has assured advertisers that violations of this policy will not result in immediate account suspension. Advertisers will receive a warning at least seven days before any suspension occurs. This approach allows for rectification and ensures continued public health messaging.

This policy update is a positive step towards empowering public health organizations in France to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug misuse. By allowing the use of specific prescription drug terms, these campaigns can be more targeted and informative, potentially reaching a wider audience and having a greater impact on public health outcomes.


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