Preview: Health Content and Services

Policy preview (effective May 31, 2024)

This article previews changes from our October 2023 policy updates.

We’re adding a new Health apps policy under “Health Content and Services” to introduce new requirements for apps that fall under the Health apps categories. We’re also updating the policy to reflect current public health guidance.

To view the current “Health Content and Services” article, visit this page.

We don't allow apps that expose users to harmful health content and services. 

If your app contains or promotes health content and services, you must ensure your app is compliant with any applicable laws and regulations.

Health Apps

If your app qualifies as a health app or has health-related features and accesses health data, it must comply with the Privacy, Deception and Device Abuse policies including User Data policy, Sensitive Events, Misrepresentation, and Deceptive Behavior policies, in addition to the below requirements:

  • Privacy Policy and Prominent Disclosure Requirements:
    • Your app must post a privacy policy link in the designated field within Play Console, and a privacy policy link or text within the app itself. Please make sure your privacy policy is available on an active, publicly accessible and non-geofenced URL (no PDFs) and is non-editable (as per the Data safety section).
    • Your app’s privacy policy must, together with any in-app disclosures, comprehensively disclose the access, collection, use, and sharing of personal or sensitive user data, not limited by the data disclosed in the Data safety section above.
    • For any functionality or data regulated by dangerous or runtime permissions, the app must fulfill all applicable prominent disclosure and consent requirements. Dangerous permissions that are not required for a health app to perform its core functionality must be removed. For the list of permissions that are considered in scope of health related sensitive data and for additional information about Health apps and their categorization, please see this Help Center article.
    • If your app is not primarily a health app, but has health-related features and accesses health data, it is still in scope of the Health App policy. It should be clear to the user the connection between the app’s core functionality and the collection of health related data (for example, insurance providers, games apps that collect a user’s activity data as a way to advance game play etc.). The app’s privacy policy must reflect this limited use.
  • Additional requirements:
    • Government-Affiliated health apps: If you have permission from the government or a recognized healthcare organization to develop and distribute an app in affiliation with them, you must submit proof of eligibility via the Advance Notice Form.
    • Contact Tracing/Health Status apps: If your app is a contact tracing and/or health status app, please go to the App content page (Policy > App content) in Play Console, and provide the required information (including the advance notice form above) in the “contact tracing and health status apps" section. Note that this does not include apps that merely store an individual’s vaccination or test records but do not interpret this data and issue public health conclusions.
    • Human Subject Research Apps: Apps conducting health-related human subject research must follow all rules and regulations; including but not limited to, obtaining informed consent from participants or, in the case of minors, their parent or guardian. Health Research apps should also secure approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/or equivalent independent ethics committee unless otherwise exempt. Proof of such approval must be provided upon request.
    • Medical Device or SaMD Apps: Apps that are considered medical devices or SaMDs must obtain and retain a clearance letter or other approval documentation that has been provided by a regulatory authority or body responsible for the governance and compliance of the health app. Proof of such clearance or approval must be provided upon request.

 

Health Connect Data

Data accessed through Health Connect Permissions is regarded as personal and sensitive user data subject to the User Data policy, and is subjected to additional requirements.

 

Prescription Drugs

We do not allow apps that facilitate the sale or purchase of prescription drugs without a prescription.

 

Unapproved Substances

Google Play doesn't allow apps that promote or sell unapproved substances, irrespective of any claims of legality. 
Examples of common violations
  • All items on this non-exhaustive list of prohibited pharmaceuticals and supplements.

  • Products that contain ephedra.

  • Products containing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in relation to weight loss or weight control, or when promoted in conjunction with anabolic steroids.

  • Herbal and dietary supplements with active pharmaceutical or dangerous ingredients.

  • False or misleading health claims, including claims implying that a product is as effective as prescription drugs or controlled substances.

  • Non-government approved products that are marketed in a way that implies that they're safe or effective for use in preventing, curing, or treating a particular disease or ailment.

  • Products that have been subject to any government or regulatory action or warning.

  • Products with names that are confusingly similar to an unapproved pharmaceutical or supplement or controlled substance.

For additional information on the unapproved or misleading pharmaceuticals and supplements that we monitor, please visit www.legitscript.com.

 

Health Misinformation

We don’t allow apps containing misleading health claims that contradict existing medical consensus, or can cause harm to users.
Examples of common violations
  • Misleading claims about vaccines, such as that vaccines can alter one’s DNA.
  • Advocacy of harmful, unapproved treatments.
  • Advocacy of other harmful health practices, such as conversion therapy.

 

Medical Functionalities

We don’t allow apps that feature medical or health-related functionalities that are misleading or potentially harmful. For example, we do not allow apps that claim to have oximetry functionality that is solely app-based. Oximeter apps must be supported by external hardware, wearable, or dedicated smartphone sensors designed to support oximetry functionality. These supported apps must also contain disclaimers in the metadata stating that they are not intended for medical use, are only designed for general fitness and wellness purposes, are not a medical device, and must properly disclose the compatible hardware model/device model.

 

Payments - Clinical Services

Transactions involving regulated clinical services should not use Google Play’s billing system. For more information, see Understanding Google Play’s Payments policy.

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