High court to hear B.C. ap­peal in bat­tle against big to­bacco

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS -

OT­TAWA — A 16-year bat­tle in Bri­tish Columbia will drag on a lit­tle longer as the prov­ince fights to re­cover bil­lions of dol­lars in health-care costs linked to to­bacco-re­lated dis­eases.

The Supreme Court of Canada has said it will hear the ap­peal of a B.C. court rul­ing that re­quired the prov­ince to hand over pa­tient in­for­ma­tion that to­bacco giant Phillip Mor­ris In­ter­na­tional says it needs to fight the B.C. law­suit.

The B.C. govern­ment turned to the high court af­ter the B.C. Court of Ap­peal unan­i­mously agreed that Phillip Mor­ris be given ac­cess to raw data used by the prov­ince in 2001 when it filed its law­suit against 13 to­bacco com­pa­nies.

Jurists found trial fair­ness re­quired han­dover of the data­bases, but lawyers for the prov­ince ar­gued the data con­tains health-care in­for­ma­tion about in­di­vid­u­als and its re­lease could vi­o­late pri­vacy laws.

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