Ko wai mātou | Who we are

Te Pātaka Whaioranga, ‘the storehouse of wellbeing’, sums up the part we play in managing and safeguarding something that is valuable to our whole community – the pursuit of wellbeing. The name was gifted to Pharmac by our kaumātua, Bill Kaua ONZM.

A pātaka has many literal and metaphorical associations in te reo Māori. It refers, literally, to the raised platform for food storage and protection of taonga and is also a symbol of safeguarding things that are precious to the community.

In the PHARMAC context, the concept of the pātaka symbolises a solid and reliable structure safeguarding the continuous flow of supplies, such as medicines and medical devices, and it’s our role to keep the flow constant and maintain availability for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

What we do

Pharmac helps people to live better, healthier lives by deciding which medicines, and related products are available to New Zealanders in a way that is affordable and accessible. Our purpose is to deliver the best health outcomes from the Government’s investment in medicines and medical devices.

We are also becoming more involved in hospital medical devices through negotiating national contracts. In the future, we will decide which medical devices are available for people under the care of public hospitals and we are preparing for this change. This includes things such as cotton swabs, orthopaedic implants, and MRI scanners.

Every year Pharmac makes more medicines available for more New Zealanders. Around 3.7 million New Zealanders a year use funded medicines and vaccines. Pharmac pays some of the lowest prices in the world for medicines. This is because we negotiate with, and encourage competition between, pharmaceutical companies to reduce their prices.

Experienced doctors, medical professionals and other experts look at how effective different medicines are across different medical conditions and help us decide what to fund.

What is Te Whaioranga? 

Te Whaioranga is Pharmac’s Māori Strategy and gives effect to Pharmac’s commitment to the articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It sets out how we aim to work with and support whānau Māori to achieve best health and wellbeing through access to, and optimal use of, medicines and medical devices.

PHARMAC’s first Māori Strategy was published in 2001 following national consultation and has been regularly reviewed and refreshed to respond to the changing environment we work in. Over many years we have listened to what whānau Māori tell us is important to them, and one of the ways we reflect this in our decision making is through the Hauora Arotahi – Māori health areas of focus.

Kua tawhiti kē tō haerenga mai, kia kore e haere tonu.
He tino nui rawa ōu mahi, kia kore e mahi nui tonu.
You have come too far not to go further.
You have done too much not to do more.

Tā Hēmi Hēnare (Ngāti Hine 1989)


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