Policy statement and position

Pharmac considers long-standing health inequities to be unfair, unjust, avoidable, and discriminatory, adversely affecting all New Zealanders.

Achieving equity in health outcomes requires Pharmac to proactively address the needs of the population groups furthest behind.

The principles for identifying population groups and sub-groups of people to focus on

In order of priority:

  • Identifying populations with the greatest health needs including population groups with the most severe conditions.
  • Where practicable, identifying people that experience multiple forms of disadvantage which adversely impacts their health outcomes resulting in health inequities, such as tangata whaikaha Māori.

Pharmac will achieve health equity in the work we do and our organisation by:

At the strategic level

  • Giving effect to the Act’s heath sector principles including:
    • Engaging with Māori, and other population groups, to develop and deliver services and programmes that reflect their needs and aspirations.
    • Taking a proactive population health approach that prevents, reduces, or delays the onset of health needs. For Pharmac this involves considering the health needs of populations, and sub population groups, with the highest health inequities and purchasing pharmaceuticals and/or medical devices to reduce the severity of their conditions and/or enhance their life expectancy.
  • Continuing to uphold and give effect to our te Tiriti o Waitangi Policy. 
  • Continuing to implement all related equity policies or strategies across the organisation.
  • Continuing to collaborate across the health and public sectors to progress health equity and support implementation of this policy.  

At the operational level

  • Ensuring our processes, policies and resources are directed towards equitable access to and responsible use of pharmaceuticals/medical devices.
  • Ensuring we prioritise the voices of consumers with lived experience, and of population groups and communities (qualitative evidence), with quantitative evidence at the centre of our decision-making. 
  • Supporting the transparent use of data (including ethnicity data) analytics, insights and evidence for advice and decision making. This will be achieved through a range of mechanisms including utilising building kaimahi capabilities and targeted equity recruitment based on need.
  • Strengthening our engagement and relationships with a focus on the highest need population groups, as outlined in the Te Pātaka Whaioranga Engagement Strategy.