In a brief judgment Madam Justice Saunders of the British Columbia Court of Appeal has ruled that doctors who are not parties to a pharmaceutical class action cannot be ordered to produce the names, addresses and contact information of patients who might be members of the class, for the purposes of giving them notice of the class action: Logan v Hong, 2013 BCCA 249.

The action alleges that patients who received injections of Dermalive had suffered adverse physical effects, and the representative plaintiff sought to require a very large number of Canadian doctors who may have injected patients with the drug to disclose patient information, as the most cost-effective way to provide notice to those potentially affected by the litigation. The court was ov the view that, while the aim of seeking legal redress for those affected by the drug was laudable, it did not displace the ‘special place of confidentiality in the physician-patient relationship’ and not even the ‘limited circumstances’ which would justify a breach of patient privacy were present.