MEDIAWATCH: Look, no one should like Rachel Smalley – B-U-T


Rachel Smalley: Inside the minds of Pharmac’s leadership team

Journalist Rachel Smalley has spent years reporting on the human cost of what drug-buying agency Pharmac will or won’t fund. She made a Privacy Act request about herself to the agency – and what she found provided insight into the minds of Pharmac’s leadership team, the tactics employed by the agency to “spotlight” journalists, and politicised commentary from some of its most senior executives.

The ugly and deeply unprofessional response to Rachel Smalley is made so much more infuriating because it reeks of a smug Wellington arrogance when it should be far more focused on responding to her legitimate criticisms!

I’m no fan of Rachel’s journalism, but her criticism and focus on Pharmac’s Opaque Conclave funding decisions are legitimate and righteous.

Instead of wasting time and energy on schemes to deal with her, how about responding to the legitimate issues.

I’m a huge fan of the collective design of Pharmac and we should use State bulk buying to keep costs down and stop the Pharmaceutical industry from dominance, but the refusal to properly fund Pharmac and ensure new medicines can be purchased creates enormous resentment from those suffering.

Pharmac should be more responsive to patients needs and pushing for better funding. They shouldn’t be spending time on demeaning journalists asking hard questions.

Who is doing comms for Pharmac?

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  1. “Who is doing comms for Pharmac?”
    Fuck “who is doing comms for Pharmac”. (I happen to be in a similar position as Rache)
    Fuck who is doing comms for NZTA, MoBIE, Krekshuns, MSD, The Electoral Commisar, Orangatan Tamariki, The NZ Labour Party, The Auckland Museum, Auckland Transport, Television New Zullin, New Zullin Post and any number of other bullshit artists and gorgeous specimens that aren’t worth the money, or indeed time of day.
    And fuck the ‘REbranders’ who’re charging like angry BULLshit artists for delivering shit that doesn’t really matter (in this space, going forward).

    • Pick an agency, and tell me if you think you’re better off as a result of the comms ‘team’ and rebranding.
      I’ll make a start for youse randomly.
      Example 1. I pick New Zullin Post.
      Do you feel better served by dealing with the rebranding – the new logo, the change of colour from red and yellow to blue and red? All those post offices, which could have been ‘all-of-gummint’ service centres, now in the hands of all/any and sundry. All those courier vans where the gig workers have paid for the actual costs of the bullshit – uniforms, pray painting, NZ Post externalised costs to the gig worker. Aren’t you just FEELING the improved service? The gig workers doing two and three jobs to pay for it all.
      Example 2. MoBIE. The Ministry of Everything. The Ministry that exemplifies that trite old saying “Jack of all trades, Master of none”. Seriously!, It couldn’t organise a half decent orgy in a brothel, and NOT because the peons that work for it aren’t desperately trying to do their best.
      With a couple of the “teams” that operate under it, they’ve managed to alienate huge demographic groups of a voting public.
      They all now operate as additional groups that constitute the ‘revenge voting public’
      Whether they be the gig worker delivering food and other things who were living on cans of beans and in cars.
      Whether they be Covid-free Kiwi citizens living offshore trying to get home, and not allowed unless they subjected themselves to a really really really primitive type of raffle that a dalit from Bangalore could have conjoured up in an instant.
      Whether they’re STILL now having to break through upper-muddle and senior managerialist teams in order to break through basic services they’ve been paying for (in this space, going forward).

      Here, have a go.
      Tell us about NZTA efficiencies, Krekshuns rehabilitations, MSD efforts to tell you about your entitlements.
      Better still, tell us all how the Electoral Commisar is going to rectify situations where polling booths ran out of voting papers, AND how he is now going to try and capture first time voters that have now completely turned off.


        • Mind you, I can not see how NZ Post can continue to provide the usual 3-daily cheap delivery when very few people send many letters any more.
          Same as public transport: NZ cities are still far too spread-out with insufficient population density to enable frequent provision of public transport.

          • Well NZ Post would still be viable if it hadn’t been turned into a bloody SOE. But you’re right – in the present circumstances it’s on a slow train to extinction.

  2. While I agree with your thoughts it seems pointless to be only looking at treatments when there are proven lifestyle habits that can prevent, treat, or even reverse diseases. Since we don’t want the state turning us all into robots the tax system would seem to be a sensible way to encourage good habits & discourage bad habits. A sugar tax would be my first suggestion as a way to get people to make better health choices while also raising revenue that can be used by the health system.

    • Yes Bonnie, health or well being should be an all of government response. That includes rental standards that help prevent respiratory disease which is a problem in lower socioeconomic areas. I think Middlemore get slammed with this. But no let’s give the almighty investors tax breaks and remove any regulation, and have people that are paying tax pick up the tab.

  3. Smalley will get her wish of the prescription charge being re-imposed, and possibly doctors visit fees going up, to fund designer drugs for wealthy people. She can get fucked.

    • Millsy yes and all the small neighborhood pharmacies going to the wall when they are needed most as part of the primary health strategy, One wonders if the chemist warehouse was a donor to the NACTS

    • Those that do not need free prescription should pay it obviously did not win many votes for Labour.Free prescription should be for those on a benefit or under 18

    • You dont need a fucking tax cut either, you fucking gammon filth. You dont need to hike your rent or withhold payrises from your workers, you are rolling in cash at the moment, and you can afford to pay a bit extra so people’s lives arent that hard like you want them to be. Also your power company dividend is probably paid for by people who are paying way too much for power.,

  4. Welcome to medical rationing!

    I have knee pain that requires an MRI to diagnose, but my GP says there’s no way in hell I can near an MRI machine because we have about half the MRI machines we need and others have a higher priority. Ditto drugs and a bunch of other things right across the social services spectrum.

    The reason we cannot have nice things is because we live in a country with low productivity that subsists mostly on hill farming stock. There is almost zero investment in fixed capital assets that would generate long term revenue streams because it’s too hard to get industrial development past the RMA process, the green lobby and the ‘stand-over tactics’ of the local iwi.

    So, get to the back of the queue and stop complaining: You’re part of the problem.

    • Perhaps rich pricks like you should be made to pay more tax. Over the past 35 years, you lot have had your taxes slashed by over 60%, while public services have been run into the ground.

    • How about Andrew, it’s because the likes of National ( they are the worst but not alone) think we have a housing market with an economy tacked on somewhere. The whole thing is f**ked

  5. Sara Fitt, is not an appropriate choice to lead PHARMAC. As soon as she came in she was madly trying to give any savings they realised back to the bloody DHBs rather than trying to reduce her own medicines priority list! You know the medicines that had been assessed as cost effective by her bloody committees and sub committees like CatSop, but they lacked the budget. She came from ADHB and seemed to think she still worked there.


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