Brand protection provider Incopro found six out of ten results for Bactrim led to locations ‘very likely to be operating unlawfully’.
It also claims Google refuses to remove such pages without going through legal channels.
Incopro researched specific products in five key industries: pharmaceutical, car parts, children’s products, safety equipment and white goods.
Overall, it found up to 60% of the results returned by search engines offer consumers access to counterfeit and possibly dangerous goods
“Consumers are at risk of buying counterfeit and possibly harmful products, as a result of clicking through results generated by search engines they trust,” said Simon Baggs, co-founder and CEO at Incopro.
“At best, these products will be poor quality or below-standard; at worst, they put consumers at risk of harm, particularly when buying pharmaceuticals or safety goods.
“It is high time search engines played their part in putting a stop to the fakers, rather than encouraging them to proliferate through inaction.”
Responding to the study, Google confirmed it did not ‘de-index URLs or websites from its Web Search index on trademark grounds upon request’.
In response to Incopro’s findings, it promised to ‘evaluate court orders issued against third parties and, where appropriate (with content specifically identified), voluntarily remove content from our Web Search results’.
Incopro is calling for search engines to work more closely with intellectual property owners and brands to remove infringing websites from the results they present to consumers.