Medical Innovation and Access Policy Adviser

Based: Geneva

Duration: 12 months temporary replacement /Full time contract 

Reporting to: Director of Policy and Analysis

Starting date: July 2017

Deadline for applications: 25 April 2017

MSF INTERNATIONAL

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.

MSF International is the legal entity that binds MSF’s 21 sections, 24 associations and other offices together. Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF movement, and implements international projects and initiatives as requested.

Médecins Sans Frontières set up the MSF Access Campaign in 1999 to address systemic challenges and 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 and beyond. The priorities of the Access Campaign are guided by the medical challenges faced by MSF and its patients in its operational settings. The primary objectives of the Access Campaign include identifying, analysing and advocating for changes around the legal and regulatory systems and practices that hinder access to medical tools and innovation suitable for people in need especially in resource limited settings.

BACKGROUND OF THE POSITION

From the start the Access Campaign faced two major challenges – the high cost of existing medicines and the absence of treatments for many of the diseases affecting our patients. Our response has been

on the one hand to challenge the high costs of existing drugs or outdated treatment policies.

On the other hand we have worked to stimulate research into new medical tools for neglected diseases such as tuberculosis, and malaria.  

There is growing recognition that in order to meet the needs of people in resource poor settings, policies must address both ways to stimulate innovation for new tools, but also to ensure access to the resulting products. Yet as more and more newer drugs are being patented in key generic producing countries, generic competition will no longer automatically be able to act as the catalyst for price reductions as it did in the recent past. New ways to keep medicines affordable must be set in motion. 

There is also a need to address the flaws in the current system of research and development which –is overwhelmingly driven by financial interests; pharmaceutical companies develop drugs based on the likely return that a product will offer through sales. Not only does this lead to high prices meaning 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 – that stimulate more innovation and at the same time ensure affordable access to the product are needed. A number of such proposals are currently under discussion for example innovation inducement prize funds.

This position has focused on strengthening the Access Campaign’s work in this area, by critically analysing new proposals to stimulate innovation and access, and also developing and promoting specific alternative proposals such as prize funds and patent pools.

OBJECTIVES OF THE POSITION

  • Provide analysis and strategic advice on policy developments relevant to innovation and access to essential health technologies
  • Gather and analyse the research and development needs emanating from the field teams to inform the Campaign’s advocacy work
  • Lead the strategy development and advocacy for the establishment of new policy mechanisms that can stimulate innovation and access to essential health technologies at the international level.
  • Stimulate public debate around appropriate innovation and access to new health technologies (articles, meetings campaigns, media work)
  • The Policy Adviser will also be expected to support the Policy and Analysis Director and collaborate with other team members.

MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Policy lead on biomedical research and development (R&D)- Building on work previously undertaken, develop the Campaign’s knowledge and expertise of policies/initiatives related to innovation and access, and analyse their ability to meet the needs of people in the contexts in which MSF works and similar contexts.
  • Act as the focal point within the Access Campaign for biomedical innovation. This includes convening a core Innovation team within the Campaign to develop policy analysis and proposals and public facing campaigns.
  • Lead the strategy development and advocacy for the establishment of new policy mechanisms that can stimulate innovation and access, for example establishment of the 3P project for TB
  • Lead and coordinate the work of the R&D dossier, convene biweekly calls; support other members of the team with policy updates, strategic advice and documents as needed. Develop and implement actions and strategies to influence policies that may be detrimental for access and innovation and to promote positive measures to improve access to medicines and innovation.
  • Prepare background documents and briefing notes on the impact of new research and development proposals on meeting the needs of people in the contexts in which MSF works and similar contexts
  • Develop and present the MSF Access Campaign position on innovation and access to a wide range of target audiences in internal and external meetings, conferences and with the media.
  • Foster and maintain a network of policy makers, NGOs, umbrella groups and academics working in the international health field on these issues.
  • Build and maintain relationships with Geneva Missions through regular meetings and briefings.
  • Work with the Communications team to highlight MSF concerns, including the development of campaigns to engage members of MSF and the broader public in supporting proposals for alternative R&D mechanisms.
  • Review and edit content developed by other team members to ensure accuracy, consistency of R&D messaging and political relevance.
  • Contribute to the strengthening of the Policy Analysis team systems, in collaboration with team colleagues.
  • Contribute to efforts to promote key campaign issues, on occasion substituting for other policy advisors, if appropriate.
  • Act as the MSF focal point to the UNITAID NGO delegation; represent MSF on the civil society delegation to UNITAID and ensure timely inputs to the delegation’s work. This includes following Executive Board Meetings and policy developments in order to identify opportunities to encourage UNITAID to work in areas that support innovation and access for contexts in which MSF works and similar contexts.
  • Manage interns and consultants as needed.

PROFILE REQUIREMENTS

  • Either: a degree in a relevant subject area  (Economics, International relations, public health, medicine, biomedical sciences or pharmacy) plus two years experience of advocacy/ campaigning at the international level on issues related to medicines and medical innovation
  • Or at least 4 years experience of international advocacy related to health issues including access to medicines and medical innovation, with a demonstrable network of contacts with relevant policy makers, NGOs, academics in the international health field.
  • Proven representation, communication and negotiation skills combined with a willingness to act as a spokesperson.
  • Knowledge/experience of current issues relating to international health and access to medicines and innovation.
  • Commitment to MSF principles
  • Fluency in English
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Ability to work independently; capacity to take initiative and seize opportunities.
  • Availability to travel to both other MSF offices, field projects and relevant meetings.
  • Computer literate (Word, Excel, Internet).

Desirable:

  • Fluency in French.
  • Experience of working with the media.
  • Experience in development of public facing campaigns.
  • Experience in biomedical research and development

Deadline for applications: 25 April 2017

Please submit all applications only by email to: IO-recruitment.gva@msf.org  stating “AC Medical Innovation and Policy Adviser” in the subject of the email.

Please submit only ONE file containing your CV and cover letter and name the file with your last name only.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.