Province settles with fired drug researchers

William and Rebecca Warburton are the last to settle 2012 dispute that saw eight drug researchers fired in error

B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke

The B.C. government has reached the last two out-of-court settlements with drug researchers fired in 2012 over alleged mishandling of patient treatment data.

Researchers William and Rebecca Warburton, a married couple, have been invited to reapply for access to B.C. government health data as part of the settlement of their lawsuits against the government, deputy attorney general Richard Fyfe said Tuesday.

“Dr. Rebecca Warburton and Dr. William Warburton acknowledge that they did breach some rules and procedures,” Fyfe said. “The province recognizes that such breaches were motivated by their intention to further the research goals of the Ministry of Health, and not for their personal gain.”

Eight researchers lost their contracts or jobs after allegations about use of confidential patient data in the evaluation of drugs for eligibility under B.C.’s Pharmacare program. Former MLA Margaret Macdiarmid, newly appointed health minister at the time, accused the researchers of misusing data and having conflicts of interest, citing a police investigation that the ministry requested but never followed through with.

William Warburton, a health economist on contract, dropped his lawsuit against the ministry in May 2015, but continued a defamation action against Macdiarmid until this week’s settlement. Rebecca Warburton was a director of research for the health ministry, fired in October 2012.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said the government is continuing to work with Ombudsperson Jay Chalke to determine how the wrongful suspensions and terminations came about. Chalke was appointed last spring, and in July the government changed legislation to give him the extra authority he requested to investigate the situation. Chalke had made it a condition of taking the case that his office be exempted from confidentiality agreements that had been reached with some researchers.

Five researchers were earlier paid undisclosed settlements and reinstated. Roderick MacIsaac, a graduate student, committed suicide several months after his research contract was terminated.

 

Just Posted

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

UPDATE: Two-car accident closes Highway 3A at Thrums

Road expected to open for single-lane alternating traffic at 2 p.m.

Trail Curling Club set for BC senior championships

Volunteers step up for BC Senior Curling championships at Trail Curling Club

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read