Ask Google Australia to lift restrictions on healthcare practitioners’ ads for treatment

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Google is preventing Australians from accessing their choice of often life-saving treatments for addiction and other health issues.

Google (which claims it has a 92.42% monopoly of online searches) provides Google Adwords to reach the public, which healthcare practitioners use. But it is currently rejecting adverts for the services offered by many healthcare providers in Australia.

These providers include:

  • Highly qualified and professionally recognised addiction and alcohol therapists, counsellors, psychotherapists, hypnotherapists, psychologists, naturopaths
  • Clinical treatment providers for drug and alcohol addiction, including inpatient, residential, and outpatient programs
  • Recovery support services for drug and alcohol addiction, including sober living environments and mutual help organisations
  • Lead generators and referral agencies for drug and alcohol addiction services
  • Crisis hotlines for drug and alcohol addiction

Google Australia is also rejecting ads for healthcare professionals who have information about diagnostic conditions and medications on their website, unless they are able to offer drugs as a cure.

This means people with health issues and addiction and alcohol problems are not able to reach the early intervention help they need.

This has occurred since Google’s parent company Alphabet heavily invested in the pharmaceutical Industry in 2017.

So Google’s policy appears to be heavily weighted in favour of this industry and distorted in that only those who prescribe drugs in Australia can advertise to people with physical and mental health issues, addiction and alcohol problems.

This severely limits the choice of Australians to choose treatments that do not require drug intervention.

Google claims it is protecting the public from unethical practices but the Australian Government has agencies such as AHPRA and the Health Care Complaints Commissions that monitor the health industry. Australia runs its own health system and does not need Google to do that for us.

My name is Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND. I’m a clinical hypnotherapist, psychotherapist, counsellor and naturopath at the Australian Health & Education Centre – one of the many healthcare professionals prevented from advertising drug-free alternatives to a range of health and addiction issues in Australia.

Join me in asking Google to lift its restrictions on healthcare practitioners’ ads to give Australians a choice in the type of often life-saving treatment they deserve.