Pharmac's communications approach for the Trikafta consultation


To be transparent about our approach, we are releasing information, including our communications plan and correspondence relating to it.

Why is Pharmac releasing this?

There has been some interest in Pharmac’s communications approach to the recent consultation process for funding new medicine Trikafta, including four Official Information Act (OIA) requests. Because of the interest and our desire to be transparent, we are proactively releasing the information asked for in the widest scoped OIA request. 

What are we sharing?

We have been asked to share:

All communications to, from and within Pharmac; communication plans or strategies; memos; notes of conversations; phone logs and/or briefings, advice relating to the proposal to fund Trikafta dating between 1 December 2022 to 12 December. This should include all communications with journalists, MPs, Minister and their office, and media organisations, etc, in the week leading up to the announcement made on 4 December.

Why do we have communications plans?

We use communications plans to ensure we deliver important updates effectively. Our plans give us clarity on what actions we need to take to ensure people are informed at appropriate times, and with the right information. Pharmac staff, the health sector, patient advocacy groups, media, and at times, community members, are considered in our communications plans. All of these groups help us to spread awareness of our activities and decisions. 

We were also asked to share:

The criteria used by Pharmac in order to decide whether it can trust Today FM or any other MediaWorks station, or any other media organisation or individual journalist.  [all correspondence/advice relating to this matter]


Some of the information shared relates to Pharmac’s decision to not accept media interviews from Today FM or any of the MediaWorks stations between Friday 2 December 2022 (end of the workday) and Friday 9 December 2022 (end of workday).

Pharmac chose to take a week off from accepting media interviews with Mediaworks. We did this because we were disappointed with how Mediaworks chose to share information publicly about the Trikafta announcement after they were told that details they had were inaccurate.

There were no formal criteria used by Pharmac when we decided not to accept interview requests from Today FM. This was a unique situation that we did not anticipate. Therefore, we had no specific processes to deal with outlets proceeding with reporting information which we had told them was inaccurate.

We have reflected on the comments from Today FM and modified our approach. We understand media need time to prepare a story, especially when trying to find patient stories – which is important in highlighting the impact of our work. We will continue to issue media releases under embargo; however, we now send them to all media rather than selected media.

The most important thing for us was that as many people as possible heard that Pharmac was consulting on funding Trikafta – so everyone could participate in the consultation.