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Committed to action on Stakeholder Survey

Media release
12 November, 2007

PHARMAC committed to action on findings of Stakeholder Survey

A survey of stakeholders of the Government drug-funding agency PHARMAC has identified areas for PHARMAC to work on to improve how it is perceived, acting chief executive Matthew Brougham says.

Research company TNS asked representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, health professionals and consumer groups for their views on PHARMAC. It found that some stakeholders, notably consumer groups and health professionals, feel at arm’s length from the agency and unsure of how to be more engaged in the process for funding medicines.

Matthew Brougham says PHARMAC will be increasing its efforts to improve its relationships and better understand the views and needs of its stakeholders. The first step in this is a Forum for PHARMAC’s stakeholders in Wellington on 3 December.

The feedback underscores comments PHARMAC received during the public consultation on the development of a Medicines Strategy; an initiative being led by Associate Health Minister, Hon Peter Dunne.

“We got the message loud and clear during Mr Dunne’s consultation initiative that people don’t feel as well connected with PHARMAC as they would like, and the survey results reinforce that,” Matthew Brougham says. “This is particularly the case with consumer groups and health professionals, which are our highest priority groups to address.”

“We’ll be working hard to improve our relationships with stakeholders and better hear what they have to say. The Stakeholder Forum we have planned will play an important part in that.”

“The survey showed that our staff are well regarded for their professionalism and trustworthiness, and this is a sound foundation to build on. However, we need to work harder to understand our stakeholders’ views.

“We’re realistic enough to recognise that we won’t always be liked for our decisions. We operate in a contentious and constrained environment where we can’t please all people all of the time.

“But some of the comments reflected a lack of understanding about PHARMAC’s role and operations, and illustrate the continuing need for effective communication on our part.”

Matthew Brougham says feedback from the survey has also provided suggestions for how PHARMAC can improve its business, such as looking at how long it consults publicly for, or the operating hours for its 0800 line.

“The survey was a valuable and humbling exercise, and has provided us with some positive ideas for improving the way we interact with stakeholders and go about our business. We will be putting those ideas into practice as we go forward.”

ENDS

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