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Google Is So Big, It Is Now Shaping Policy to Combat the Opioid Epidemic. And It's Screwing It Up.

Dayen, David
http://theintercept.com/2017/10/17/google-search-drug-use-opioid-epidemic/

Publisher:  The Intercept
Date Written:  17/10/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article

A snap decision by Google has begun to reshape the drug treatment industry, tilting the playing field toward large conglomerates-- the precise opposite outcome Google had hoped to achieve.

Abstract: 
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Excerpt:

The fateful decision was made September 14 [2017]. Google faced pressure from an expose in The Verge released a week earlier, documenting how shady lead generators game its AdWords system. High-cost ads based on rehab keywords referred users to phone hotlines that gave the impression of being independent information services, but were actually owned by treatment center conglomerates. Representatives, who reap large fees based on how many patients they sign up, employ high-pressure sales tactics to push people into their favored facilities, whether or not that facility is the right one for the patient.

This deceptive marketing can lead to substandard treatment and massive overbilling. It also made lots of money for Google, which was shown in the story actively courting addiction treatment advertisers.

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