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Recently, it was announced that more companies, ministries and organisations within the health care industry are committed to a common cause. In order to work towards these, they have formed organisational implementation committees, alliances and coalitions. But what motivates them to enter into this kind of cooperation? 

In the last week, for example, ten leading biopharmaceutical companies have announced that they have formed a non-profit organisation to accelerate the development of new drugs with the name TransCelerate BioPharma Inc.. The initiative will work to ensure that pharmaceutical companies cooperate more closely in the early stages of the research and establish uniform standards. A day later, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend) and the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit) announced their „Alliance for people with dementia“ on World Alzheimer’s Day (21st September 2012). In light of recent legislation on care reform, the joint alliance released a statement in which they pledged to adopt concrete measures for specific issues, for example to improve the social participation of people with dementia and to support sufferers and their families. They plan to implement these by the end of 2013. The members of this alliance are not the only representatives with responsibility for people with dementia; organisations and entities at a federal level who are directly responsible include the German Alzheimer’s Society (Deutsche Alzheimer Gesellschaft e.V.), Self help dementia (Selbsthilfe Demenz), the German Care Association (Deutsche Pflegerat) and the German Medical Association (Bundesärztekammer). Previously, the Federal Association of German Industry (Bundesverband der deutschen Industrie) has set up a joint committee with the goal of developing an industry-wide perspective for all health-related industries and businesses.

Basically, by an alliance we mean a contractually regulated relationship between equal partners.  Here the parties adhere to an agreed common goal and are hoping that, through a pooling of interests, expertise and influence, this is the best way to achieve this. To this end, an attempt is often made to influence the public’s perception of a particular topic through press releases, advertising campaigns, appearances on panel discussions, briefings with journalists or publishing articles in professional journals.

In the health resource market, the alliances among producers have a very limited scope. Active since mid-2008, Action Alliance „My Choice“ is an exception. The alliance is supported by many organizations, supply partners, vendors and people with disabilities, and is committed to a demand-oriented, quality-assured provision of aids. To achieve these objectives, the Alliance has been engaged in a nationwide information and mobilisation campaign.

Recently formulated alliances in health care show that, for the purpose of achieving a common goal as in the above examples, the actions taken as a result are advantageous to those involved. This seems to be the case even for health aids manufacturers, as they offer even more possibilities in addition to the lobbying of the tendering practice: a collaboration of producers along the entire supply aids spectrum contribute to increase the overall quality of care.

Here, this presents the following questions: what common goals can be achieved in the health resource market through encouraging more collaboration at the producer level? Also, how would this collaboration be structured, and which measures must be taken?