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

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

Pauline Schmutz, 75, receives her COVID-19 vaccine from public health nurse Donna McKenzie on Tuesday, April 13 at the community clinic at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Additional COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled for Horsefly, Big Lake

Anyone 18 and over who has not received a vaccine yet is encouraged to register

The Cariboo Regional District. (Angie Mindus photo)
Industrial park slated for Watch Lake Road

Building company Omnitek to start building new plant on 32-acre site

Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort on Puntzi Lake has been purchased by Tsideldel First Nation. (Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort photo)
Tsideldel First Nation buys Kokanee Bay Fishing Resort at Puntzi Lake

“It’s a good opportunity for the band, our children and our future,” said Chief Otis Guichon

Demolition work is underway at the corner of Oliver Street and Mackenzie Avenue. (Angie Mindus photo)
Demolition work begins on Ming’s Restaurant building in Williams Lake

The historic building suffered extensive water damage during a large fire downtown in 2019

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

Then-finance minister Kevin Falcon presents his last B.C. budget, Feb. 21, 2012. The province was emerging from the 2009-10 recession and repaying federal incentive to cancel the harmonized sales tax. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Political veteran Kevin Falcon set for second run at B.C. Liberal leadership

Vancouver MLA Michael Lee announces on the same day

Most Read