Pharmac Board endorse action plan to enhance organisational culture

Media release

At Pharmac’s regular monthly Board meeting held today, the Board endorsed the action plan proposed by the chief executive and senior leadership team to improve the organisation’s culture.

The action plan is in response to unprofessional comments made by some staff in some internal emails. The internal emails were released as part of a Privacy Act request.

Pharmac will implement four immediate and four short-term actions to ensure it upholds the Public Service values.

Actions include:

  • Engaging an external party to assist the senior leadership team and the Board with work underway on the culture of Pharmac.
  • Updating induction for all new Pharmac staff and external advisors to ensure a stronger focus on responsibilities as public servants.
  • Improving engagement with stakeholders to ensure Pharmac is listening to their concerns and responding to them appropriately and in a timely way.

“The chief executive and senior leadership team are taking this matter very seriously and are addressing the concerns immediately,” Board Chair Steve Maharey says.

“The chief executive expressed her regret over the comments. The Board has accepted her apology and verbal explanation. It has requested that the chief executive offer a public apology.”

“The Board will be provided with regular updates on the implementation of the action plan, and we will closely monitor progress.”

Public apology

Statement attributable to chief executive Sarah Fitt

I would like to apologise for the comments made in several internal emails. These comments were not in keeping with the Public Service values.

The Pharmac Board has agreed with my recommendation to implement a series of actions to improve the culture of Pharmac and ensure we do not see a repeat of this.

As the chief executive, I am ultimately responsible for leading and setting the tone for the organisation. I did not meet this expectation and deeply regret my actions.

I am confident that what we have agreed today will lead to a better culture and a better Pharmac.

Additional information

Pharmac will be making no further comment.

The documents containing the unprofessional comments were released under the Privacy Act, therefore Pharmac is only able to provide the material to the requestor and cannot publish or release it as it would with an Official Information Act response.