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Ontario court thwarts bid to stop sale of Zellers prescription files

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The Ontario Superior Court has rejected a bid by a group of Zellers Inc. pharmacists to get an injunction to stop the retailer from selling thousands of customer prescription files to two major grocers for more than $35-million.

Mr. Justice Laurence A. Pattillo said in a judgment on Friday that closing the Zellers pharmacies and selling patient records will not hurt the patients' privacy rights, as the pharmacists had argued.

"The patients' right to choose where to access pharmacy services is in no way imperiled by the proposed transfer," the ruling said.

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The pharmacists sought the injunction after leading grocer Loblaw Cos. Ltd. announced a $35-million agreement to buy the prescription files at 95 Zellers stores. Metro Inc. sealed a deal for records at seven other Zellers outlets for an undisclosed amount.

Zellers had countersued the pharmacists, maintaining its licensing agreement gave it ownership of the files and the right to sell them.

The pharmacies are closing as part of Zellers' $1.8-billion sale of most of its store leases to U.S. discount giant Target Corp, which will begin to open stores in Canada next year.

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