Nearly two years after the B.C. government abruptly suspended or fired seven health researchers, one of them has been rehired as a research consultant by the Ministry of Health.

Dr. Malcolm Maclure, who was a director of research and evidence development with the ministry's pharmaceutical services division, was suspended in 2012 for allegedly providing preferential treatment to certain candidates and extended family members, and for allegedly "failing to prevent unauthorized access to data by employees and/or third parties."

Maclure fought back, launching a defamation lawsuit against the government, denying the allegations and defending his record as a world-leading authority on health research.

On Friday, the government announced an apparent reconciliation with Maclure, including a photograph of him shaking hands with the deputy health minister Stephen Brown.

"The ministry is pleased to announce that Dr. Maclure will be working with the ministry on projects which will provide doctors with confidential information about their prescribing and how to optimize use of medications," said a statement issued by the ministry.

The announcement said Maclure would be "engaged as a confidential consultant" and would be "fully eligible to access data in accordance with the current ministry protocols, policies and procedures for data access.

"Maclure, who is a professor and B.C. chair of patient safety in the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics at UBC, has worked with the ministry, during which time he contributed to improvements in health data privacy protection, such as using 'camouflaged sampling' and protocols for creating anonymous 'prescribing portraits'."