Legal and Policy Advisor

Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign

I - BACKGROUND

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

Médecins Sans Frontières set up the MSF Access Campaign in 1999 to improve access to existing medical tools (medicines, diagnostics and vaccines) and to stimulate the development of urgently needed better tools for people in countries where MSF works.

The priorities of the Access Campaign are guided by the medical challenges faced by MSF’s operations. MSF has also set international medical priorities, such as vaccination, tuberculosis and HIV and AIDS, as a means of focusing its operational and advocacy work. The aim is to improve medical practice in resource-limited settings by accessing existing and new tools (drugs, diagnostics and vaccines) that can change the organisation’s medical practice.

II - CONTEXT AND RATIONALE

Building on the Access Campaign’s experience in identifying and seeking to overcome intellectual property and other barriers to access to medical technologies, the Access Campaign has worked both to oppose policies, especially IP barriers that would limit access to medicines and a broader range of medical technologies such as vaccines and diagnostics, and to promote approaches to overcome such barriers. Procurement strategies which can also improve access to affordable commodities may provide an unexploited opportunity for advancing the Access Campaign’s objectives.

There is also a need to address the flaws in the current system of research and development which relies primarily with huge detrimental consequences, on companies recouping their R&D investments through charging high prices, and protecting that price through patent monopolies.  Not only does this mean that some drugs, diagnostics and vaccines remain completely out of reach for many patients, it also means that diseases like

TB or paediatric HIV that mostly affect the poor don’t get anywhere near the attention and investment into research as diseases that have bigger, more lucrative markets. Alternative financing mechanisms for research and development (R&D) that reward R&D, but do not rely on charging high prices, and that stimulate more innovation and at the same time ensure affordable access to the product, are needed.

III - POSITION WITHIN ORGANISATION

The Legal and Policy Advisor will work as part of a multidisciplinary team comprising clinicians, pharmacists, and policy and advocacy, and communications specialists. The advisor will report to the Access Campaign Director of Policy and Analysis.

IV - OBJECTIVE OF THE POSITION

MSF is seeking an experienced professional that will bring their own thinking and experience to bear on the Access Campaign’s legal work with a focus on intellectual property law and access, while also providing critical policy and advocacy support to key medical dossiers.  The latter may occupy up to 40% of the post, with an initial focus on vaccines.

V - ACTIVITIES

  • Provide analysis and strategic advice on policy developments relevant to access to essential health technologies (medicines, vaccines and diagnostics)
  • Analyze the impact of intellectual property (IP) agreements and policies on access to medical technologies, and recommend appropriate strategies to mitigate negative effects
  • Support strategy development and advocacy to oppose measures harmful to access to medical technologies and for measures to improve access to medical technologies
  • Contribute to the writing of  briefing documents related to IP and access
  • Present MSF’s position at different international policy fora and to different norm setting and public health bodies, and advocate for policies to stimulate access to essential medical technologies
  • Foster and maintain a network of policy makers, NGOs, umbrella groups and academics working in the international health field on access to medical technologies
  • Contribute to the evolution of MSF policy and practice through facilitating exchange between policy debates within MSF and those happening in international policy fora
  • Stimulate public debate around IP and access to essential medical technologies (articles, meetings, media work)
  • Provide key policy and advocacy support to other key medical priorities for the Access Campaign, and in particular towards advancing the campaign’s goals of improving innovation and access to vaccines

VI - SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

Qualifications

  • Law degree

Work Experience

Essential

  • At least 3 years experience of providing legal advice on IP and access to essential medicines
  • At least 3 years experience of advocacy on IP and public health/trade issues
  • Knowledge/experience of current issues relating to international health and access to medicines

Desirable

  • Experience in engagement of global health organisations
  • Experience of working with the media.

Specific Skills

Essential

  • Proven representation, communication and negotiation skills combined with a willingness to act as a spokesperson
  • Fluency in English
  • Ability to work independently; capacity to take initiatives and seize opportunities
  • Availability to travel to other MSF offices, field projects and relevant meetings
  • Computer literate (Word, Excel, Internet)

Desirable

  • Fluency in one or more additional languages especially French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese or Hindi
  • Knowledge of current policy debates surrounding innovation and access to vaccines

Location:  Geneva

Duration: Permanent – 100%

Starting date: November 2013 

Deadline for application: 31 July 2013

Please submit all applications only by email to: IO-recruitment.gva@msf.org stating  “Legal & Policy Advisor” in the title.

Please submit only one file containing your CV and cover letter and name the file with your family name.
 
Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.