Health Consumer Organisations (HCOs) are not-for-profit organisations that represent the interests and views of consumers of health care. Sometimes referred to as patient groups, HCOs provide support services and information to patients, families and carers. HCOs also fund research as well as advocate for improved standards of care and enhanced access to treatment. To this end, HCOs often work in partnership with a range of health professionals and healthcare providers with the aim to minimise the impact of ill health on the Australian community.
The Australian Medicines Industry has worked collaboratively with HCOs for many years to provide information and support to help patients understand and manage their health and well being. The Industry also works with HCOs toward advancing dialogue around healthcare issues to support optimal delivery of healthcare. In 2005, the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (the national peak organisation for consumers) and Medicines Australia (the national association representing the prescription medicines industry) developed the Working Together Guide. In 2008 both organisations undertook a review of the document to ensure it remained relevant and informative. The Guide aims to assist both HCOs and the industry in working together appropriately in a transparent and accountable way. MSD endorses the Guide, using it along with the detailed supporting materials in the Working Together Manual, as a framework to develop and maintain our HCO relationships.
For more information, the Guide and manual are available at www.chf.org.au or www.medicinesaustralia.com.au