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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

RCMP still investigating body found between Nelson, Castlegar

Halimi’s body was found between Nelson and Castlegar in May 2018

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

Prominent Slocan Valley environmental activist dies

Marilyn Burgoon was ‘tough and determined’

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Interior Health issues drug alert in Kamloops

Testing of two samples of drugs sold as crystal meth was positive for fentanyl

Most Read