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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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Online Pharmacy Verification Issue

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi, hoping I can get some input from anyone well versed in Google's ad approval policies.

In particular I'm having a lot of issues with ads being banned/disapproved for "online pharmacy verification" issue. 

 

E.g.: Ad Issue(s): [Healthcare and medicines] Online pharmacy certification required

 

To make things clear, we never use any prescription medication terms in our ad text, landing pages, or product descriptions. We are a retailer of sports supplements only.

 

I understand the sports supplement "niche" (protein powder, pre workouts etc) can be a bit of a grey area, but nothing we sell is on the Adwords disapproved products list or requires a prescription to sell in our country of operation. No claims are made as to any products being as effective as pharmaceutical medicines either. 

 

Because we don't require prescriptions, we can't actually get one of Google's prescription policy waivers (as that requires a Ministry of Health certificate to proceed)

 

I've been trying to solve this issue with our rep for over a month now, but he turned around the other day and basically said there isn't much further we can do beyond comparing our product list with their banned products list, and crossing fingers during a resubmit. He informed me that it is 100% impossible to get a list of the products that Google is identifying as violating their online pharmacy issue.

 

Of course this is even more bizarre as we are being instructed to check their general disapproved supplements list, even though the error we are getting is actually about the online pharmacy verification issue.

 

Can anyone please help me as I'm doing my head in over this? I've spent hours looking through every product on our site, and just cannot see at all how we could be triggering this policy violation.

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Online Pharmacy Verification Issue

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi @Sam F;

Correct, This could be a huge task to eliminate all products not allowed, and furthermore to remove all claims which could imply a cure;

Please share the URL.

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Online Pharmacy Verification Issue

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Moshe,

Thanks for your reply. Yes I've already burned a number of hours on this issue comparing various Adwords policy lists with our products.

The URL is http://www.shotgun.co.nz

I should clarify that our rep advised us to look at the disallowed supplements list. However, in the adwords account the disapproval reason is showing as "online pharmacy certification required"

Re: Online Pharmacy Verification Issue

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

@Sam F;

This website needs a complete revision. A significant   number of products violate the "health care and medicine" section of the policy and for many others the claims are unsupported.

There is a lot of work to do here...

 

Start by reviewing and removing  products that are not allowed (e.g Anabolic, weight loss, testosterone...), and then revise the content for every product and make sure that no confusing  claims are shown. (e.g claims like "natural product that promotes testosterone levels and muscle strength in trained athletes." - are not allowed.

 

Avoid any reference to pharma grade since this instantly could imply a pharma drug....

This is going to be a long process, time consuming (and of course costly, if you outsource the design)  if you wish to enable the site again. But I don't see any other way...

-Moshe

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Online Pharmacy Verification Issue

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Moshe, thanks for your response. I would like to clarify a couple of points here:

1) The error we get is nothing to do with selling products that are not allowed (as far as I can tell). We get an error about online pharmacy verification due to:

Prescription drug sales
Prescription drug name in ad

None of the products we sell are prescription medications. No prescription drug names are used in ads.

2) This suggests to me that the problem is not with the products we are selling (nothing we sell is on this list of unapproved products here: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/2423645) but that our products are being incorrectly identified as prescription medication.

Does that clarify things a bit?

Sam

Re: Online Pharmacy Verification Issue

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Hello again @Sam F;

I think that the system mistakenly sent a notification about "online pharmacy", due to the a few substances listed, which could be considered drugs (though they are not).

 

The issue here is the claims, the products, and the way they are presented (as explained in my initial reply).

During the appeal process (after the site is fixed) this point will have to be explained in the documentation, submitted.

-Moshe

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Online Pharmacy Verification Issue

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Moshe,

99% of our ads are actually running fine, getting clicks, impressions, and conversions. This once again indicates that the products are not the problem (although I do acknowledge that some bodybuilding supplements can be marketed with claims that definitely tread grey areas).

The issue is that whenever I attempt to add new ad copy variants I get that "online pharmacy certification" error.

I'll follow this up with our rep, but thanks very much for your help any way Smiley Happy