Selling Health & Medicine Products on Google Adwords? Where’s the EASY Button?

By April 10, 2013October 7th, 2019Google Adwords

Selling Health & Medicine Products on Google Adwords Can Be A Frustrating Experience For Merchants.

Easy Button
With spring cleaning on people’s minds, merchants in the healthcare and medicine industry are planning to or are already advertising on Google Adwords. So, if you plan on selling health and medicine products on Google Adwords such as supplements, capsules or anything health related, be prepared for some frustrating back and forth communication with Google!

So, you setup your search campaigns to advertise your all-natural dietary supplements, detox powders and power vitamins. Sounds pretty straight forward right? WRONG! Google recently instituted a “Family-Safe” guideline that excludes certain drug names, regardless of your status as an online seller, from being displayed on their paid placements. Don’t feel singled out, several other categories, including Alcohol (hard liquor), Tobacco and Weapons were affected by this change. The good news, you can get your products on Google Search. The not-so-good news is it will take time, some effort and a whole lot of patience.

Review Google’s Advertising Policies on Pharmaceuticals and Supplements

To avoid the back and forth that will surely come your way, be sure to review the ingredient list of all your products, this will definitely save time when submitting certain ads, keywords and landing pages in your Google Adwords campaigns. There are several terms that are eligible for exception (usually generic like capsules, pills and supplements), so all is not lost and you can profit from running your campaign with a select combination of generic terms.

Google allows the use of these terms/products:

  • OTC products
  • Vitamins
  • Dietary supplements

However, Google will not allow the use of the following:

  • Dietary supplements containing harmful ingredients
  • Products containing Ephedra
  • Prescription drugs sold by unauthorized and unregistered online pharmacies

Google provides a pretty well detailed list of pharmaceuticals and supplements not allowed for advertising in their Advertising Policies section: Unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements –

Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites

While there is a vast array of health products for sale, certain terms, and even ingredients will get flagged automatically and only a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) online pharmacy certification will allow said products on Google (for both search and shopping ads). Unfortunately, this will happen whether you sell those particular “drugs” or not. The issue lies in whether you are an online pharmacy or just a reseller/manufacturer. Once Google sends out their notifications or you see them at the top of your Google account, they will at least provide the reason for disapproval. You can then communicate and get your keyword, ad, product reviewed and hopefully approved to run. Another downside is that it could take up to a week to get the final reply from the review team.

For more information on the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy VIPPS program, visit the NAPB website –  In addition, you will also need to be certified by Google, Google’s online pharmacy application form –

If you are having issues getting your ads approved there are a couple things you can do. First, review and adhere to Google’s “AdWords Policy Center” which can be reviewed here. Review Google’s “Restricted Products and Services” list here . If you are still having issues with disapproved ads or keywords, you can contact Google Adwords at 1-888-2GOOGLE.

So, check your email at least once a week to ensure you haven’t received any notifications from Google about disapproved ads and keywords. If there still issues, you can always contact our experts by calling us at 1-888-277-5429 or filling out our contact form.

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