Skip to content Skip to menu

About the Guide

Welcome to the Working Together Guide, your resource providing guidance and examples for building collaborative relationships between individuals, health consumer organisations and research-based pharmaceutical companies.

The Working Together Guide was developed by the Consumers Health Forum of Australia and Medicines Australia in 2005 and was first updated in 2008.

The guide includes advice about how to manage collaborations between health consumer organisations and pharmaceutical companies, especially when complexities arise. It also highlights how successful collaborations require significant effort, openness, trust and respect.

The guide was developed through consultation with health consumer organisations and pharmaceutical companies. We would like to thank those individuals and organisations who provided input into the development of the original guide and the subsequent updates. In particular, we thank the steering committees who spent a great deal of time ensuring the guide meets the needs of all stakeholders.

We would also like to sincerely thank the International Alliance of Patients’ Organization for the use of their resources, in particular the Working with Partners and stakeholders toolkit.

With growing public interest in these relationships, this guide can help health consumer organisations, individuals and pharmaceutical companies negotiate the often complex pathway to developing a productive working relationship.

About the Consumers Health Forum of Australia

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) is the national peak body representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers. CHF works to achieve safe, quality, timely healthcare for all Australians, supported by accessible health information and systems.

CHF does this by:

  • advocating for appropriate and equitable healthcare
  • undertaking consumer-based research and developing a strong consumer knowledge base
  • identifying key issues in safety and quality of health services for consumers
  • raising the health literacy of consumers, health professionals and stakeholders
  • providing a strong national voice for health consumers and supporting consumer participation in health policy and program decision making

CHF values:

  • their members’ knowledge, experience and involvement
  • development of an integrated healthcare system that values the consumer experience
  • early intervention, prevention and early diagnosis
  • collaborative, integrated healthcare
  • working in partnership

CHF member organisations reach thousands of Australian healthcare consumers across a wide range of health interests and health system experiences. CHF policy is developed through consultation with members, ensuring that CHF maintains a broad, representative health consumer perspective.

CHF is committed to being an active advocate in the ongoing development of Australian health policy and practice.

To learn more about CHF visit

About Medicines Australia

Medicines Australia represents the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Australia. Its member companies supply most of the medicines that are available to Australian patients through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme as well as providing a range of other medicines and vaccines to the Australian community. These medicines keep Australians out of hospitals, prevent and treat disease and play a pivotal role in ensuring a productive and healthy community.

Medicines Australia represents the research-based pharmaceutical industry by:

  • engaging with Government and Government departments, consumer groups and healthcare professionals to develop health and pharmaceutical industry policy
  • building and maintaining relationships with Government for fair reimbursement of medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • administering the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct, which sets the standard for the ethical marketing and promotion of prescription medicines, compliance of which is a condition of Medicines Australia membership
  • working with other health professionals and consumer organisations on issues of mutual concern
  • providing specialist advice to member companies
  • raising awareness in the community about industry activities

Medicines Australia is committed to enhancing its relationship with health consumers and continues to actively engage with key consumer groups to better understand their needs and issues.

To learn more about Medicines Australia visit

How to use the Guide

There are nine main sections on this website that describe key topics to guide you through information available to build a collaborative relationship between individuals, health consumer organisations and pharmaceutical companies. These sections are used as menu headings. There is a tenth section on this website that enables you to download a printable brochure of the Working Together Guide.

Each section has a sub-menu that lists what is on the page you are reading.

Both the menu and sub-menu headings are linked to enable you to go to any section or topic within a page with one click.

At the bottom of each page are navigational buttons that enable you to go forwards and backwards between pages.

A glossary is provided that includes definitions of key words and terms used in this guide and by pharmaceutical companies.