The Telegram (St. John's)

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


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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