A Canadian health economist is suing British Columbia’s health ministry, claiming it terminated his research contract in order to suppress his findings about the harmful side effects of anti-psychotic medications covered by the country’s health system.
In July, the Ministry of Health fired several people in connection with a breach of residents’ private health data, Law360 said. The ministry said data was inappropriately shared among researchers without proper encryption or removal of personally identifiable data. But in his lawsuit for breach of contract, William Warburton claims that his termination and the ministry’s subsequent implication that he was involved in wrongdoing were politically motivated.
In his research, Warburton had been analyzing ministry health data in order to determine the impact of atypical anti-psychotic medications on patient health outcomes, he says. His research included drugs made by Bristol Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca Canada, Eli Lilly Canada, Janssen Inc., Pfizer Canada Inc., and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada, according to Law360.
Warburton said the provincial government had received “significant contributions” from drug companies and it created programs and financing to attract major drug companies to the province. The legal complaint describes Warburton’s termination as “part of a bad faith program by the defendants to end the investigation of harmful effects of drugs which risk leading to diminishing payments to their political contributors.”