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Pharmac’s made friendly noises before

Jackie Blue MP
National Party Associate Health (Pharmacare) Spokeswoman

12 November 2007

Pharmac’s made friendly noises before

“Pharmac’s been talking for years about improving relationships with those it deals with, but platitudes simply don’t cut it any longer,” says National’s Associate Health (Pharmacare) spokeswoman Jackie Blue.

She is commenting on Pharmac’s ‘new’ pledge to become more user friendly following a survey which confirmed consumer groups and health professionals felt disenfranchised by the Government’s drug-buying agency.

“We’ve heard all this before. I’ll believe Pharmac’s adopting a new user-friendly face when I see it,” says Dr Blue.

In its 2002/03 Annual Plan, Pharmac indicated that improving relationships with stakeholders was a strategic priority and had even established a new position, Manager of Communications and Relationships.

The report pointed out that Pharmac had established the Consumer Advocacy Committee in 2002 as an example of how it would improve relationships.

But even after those changes, damning UMR surveys conducted in 2005 and 2006 confirmed a massive loss in confidence by consumers and health professionals.

“When I asked what the performance indicators were for their stakeholder strategy during the 2006/07 annual review process all I got was waffle. I was told, ‘the strategy has a range of initiatives with one overarching goal, namely to establish a culture of listening and responding within PHARMAC’.

“Today’s pledge is actually yesterday’s broken promise. Given Pharmac’s track record of failure, I can’t help but remain sceptical.”


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