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Information Act shows racism in PHARMAC’s decision making

Paati Māori Co-leader, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, has received information that blatantly outlines the inequity within Pharmac and its decision making. She is calling for Pharmac to urgently address their inclusivity of Māori into their funding decisions.

An OIA shows that of the 12 prioritisation meetings since March 2019, five had no Māori representation, whilst half of the meetings have only ever had one Māori representative out of a maximum attendance of 45-people. *

“It is appalling to learn how Pharmac is operating when deciding which drugs are purchased for our people to live or live well. I am extremely concerned at the racism applied by Pharmac when attempting to address Maori health inequities” said the List MP based in Te Tai Hauāuru.

“What’s alarming with this OIA is the non-existent to poor representation of Māori within these hui with the outcomes being detrimental to the health of whānau. All Pharmac staff are part of the decision-making process, yet the inequity in Māori representation coincides with the inequity whānau are receiving regarding dire medicine access. This simply reinforces poor health outcomes for our people” said the Māori Party co-leader.

Ngarewa-Packer said “The OIA shows that the most critical function of this Government agency, to decide which medications are subsidised for our whānau, keep Māori away from the decision-making table even though Māori are contending with the highest of medicine inequities.”

“We have a large group missing out on the best drugs for diabetes, yet the irony is the first thing you see on the Pharmac website is the agency gloating about their attempt to bring equity for Māori and Pacifica with Type II diabetes. This is just another example of another department making decisions for us, without us. Some of our whānau are having to shift to Australia to access better drugs, and some of our tamariki have died or are dying, because of decisions made by Pharmac.”

Ngarewa-Packer said “The hypocrisy is that, whilst Pharmac hardly employ any Māori and our people are absent from the decisions being made by the agency, they carry the Māori name ‘Te Pataka Whaioranga’ (The Storehouse of Wellbeing). Clearly their storehouse is empty or broken and not able to live up to providing for the wellbeing of Māori.”

“Pharmac needs to urgently address the inherent racism within their decision-making process and lack of inclusivity of Māori. They have an obligation under Te Tiriti” said the Co-leader of Te Paati Māori.

(*) = the fewest number attending a meeting was 30 and the most was 45.

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