SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google told Reuters Monday it would resume accepting ads from U.S. addiction treatment centers in July, nearly a year after the Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) unit suspended the lucrative category of advertisers for numerous deceptive and misleading ads.
Treatment centers now will be able to run ads after being vetted by Portland, Ore. firm LegitScript, Google said.
Interest in treatment for abuse of opioids and other prescription drugs has soared in recent years amid what authorities have described as a nationwide epidemic.
Scammers found that Google ads were an easy way to defraud treatment-seekers in an industry in which regulations vary greatly by jurisdiction, authorities and patient advocacy organizations have said.
Google suspended alcohol and drug treatment advertising on search pages and millions of third-party apps and websites in the U.S. in September, the week after tech publication The Verge posted a lengthy story about scams. Google expanded the prohibition globally in January.
The move cut off at least $78 million annually worth of advertising in the U.S. alone, research firm Kantar Media estimated.
Most advertisers can buy ads through Google with few hurdles to clear. But Google has adopted additional vetting for…