Cystic Fibrosis NZ

Business problem:

If your life expectancy was only 31 years, how much would you pay to double the time you had with family, friends, and loved ones?

For people afflicted with cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common life-threatening genetic condition in New Zealand, the answer is $330,000 - every year, year in, year out. This is the annual cost of Trikafta, a modern medicine that treats the underlying cause of CF and provides benefits equivalent to 27 more years at full health when compared to current supportive treatments for sufferers of this cruel condition – effectively almost doubling their life expectancy.

Unfortunately for CF sufferers the annual cost of Trikafta wasn’t funded by Pharmac, and therefore was beyond the reach of the people that needed it the most. For Pharmac, $330,000 was just a number. So we had to show them that it was much, much more than that.

CFNZ desperately needed Pharmac to prioritise funding of this life-changing medication, the evidence was overwhelming, and Trikafta was funded in more than 30 other countries including Australia.

We needed cut-through that would connect on a deeper level and most importantly apply pressure on key decision makers at the highest level.

But Pharmac only saw the cost, a big cost, and a significant chunk of the new funding they had received from Government. We needed them to see the real people behind that cost and to demonstrate why this was a good investment.

Our goal was to apply pressure to Pharmac and the Government to keep Trikafta front of mind and create public pressure.

earned pieces of coverage
more years at full health
in funding

Our solution:

Our idea was to launch a campaign that was formidable. To deliver an undeniable groundswell of support from media and the public that would compel action from those in positions of influence to make a decision that would ultimately provide access to a treatment that would increase life expectancy and improve quality of life.

To do this we got personal with the stories of individuals and the impact that CF has on them, their family, and their friends. We doubled down on the facts and used Pharmac’s own insights to reinforce the message that Trikafta can give someone with CF 27 More Years.

We knew that if we could get a selection of key journalists on our side, we’d be able to apply pressure on Pharmac and the Government in a more public forum.

We started by developing a list of key journalists who we wanted to get behind our campaign. We wanted journalists with credibility and reach and who were known for covering stories of significance.

We needed them to help us tell our story in a compelling way that would apply pressure on Pharmac and the Government.

We used the data and the facts to demonstrate and reinforce that this was an investment not a cost. That modern medicines like Trikafta can provide significant benefits to the health system, the common-sense approach.


We told human stories because we knew that was crucial to our strategy – and we told them relentlessly securing 50 pieces of coverage from September up to the December funding announcement for which a further 102 pieces were secured.

In the four-month period September to December we secured 152 pieces of coverage.

We were successful and reached a historic moment in the 54-year history of CFNZ. In December 2022, Pharmac announced that Trikafta would be funded from 1st April 2023.

We changed the minds of a few to save the lives of hundreds.

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