Feds investigate fake drug ads on Google (Morning Read)

Among today’s current medical news, authorities are investigating whether Google profited from fake drug ads; a study shows that early HIV treatment reduces transmission rates; and a report shows that PPO costs have more than doubled in the last decade.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about the healthcare industry.

DOJ investigates pharma ads: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) took a first quarter $500 million charge related to a U.S. Department of Justice probe of possibly fraudulent pharmaceutical advertising on the site, notes Forbes. Google is negotiating a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the $500 million has been set aside for a potential settlement. Authorities aren’t commenting and neither is Google. But a legal expert tells the The New York Times that websites are liable for advertising that breaks federal law.

Benefits of early HIV treatment: A new study finds that HIV patients who receive treatment as soon as they’re diagnosed are less contagious, slashing transmission to their partners by 96 percent, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

Got milk? Researchers in Italy found that some people who believe they’re lactose intolerant might actually have a psychological condition where they think they’re unable to process lactose. The research found that even though patients reported symptoms, no physical cause could be found.

PPO costs more than double: Healthcare costs for a family of four enrolled in a preferred provider organization have gone from $9,235 in 2002 to $19,393, according to the Millliman Medical Index.

Dealflow: Cell Biosciences acquires Canada-based Brightwell Technologies for $9 million; Takeda Pharmaceuticals reportedly in talks to buy Nycomed for $14 billion; Biodel to raise $30 million.