Medical Innovation and Access Policy Adviser MSF Access Campaign
Based: Any AC hubs
Duration 12 months temporary (interim), full-time contract
Reporting to: Head of Policy
Starting date: mid-June 2019
Application deadline: 24 March 2019
- MSF ACCESS CAMPAIGN
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.
Created in 1999, the Access Campaign (AC) is an MSF advocacy entity guided by MSF’s charter, and dedicated to serve MSF’s social mission. Deeply rooted in MSF’s medical operations, the AC works to tackle barriers to people’s access to medical care, ensuring that quality products such as medicines, vaccines and diagnostics are available, affordable and adapted to people in MSF projects and beyond, now and for the future. The AC is hosted by MSF International, 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.
- POSITION BACKGROUND
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 Our response has been on the one hand to challenge the high costs of existing drugs or outdated treatment policies, on the other hand to encourage research into new medical tools for neglected patients including those with tuberculosis and malaria.
As more and more newer drugs are being patented in key generic producing countries, generic competition cannot act as the catalyst for price reductions – as it did in the recent past with HIV medicines for instance. There is growing recognition that in order to meet the health needs of people, in resource poor settings but also more globally, policies must be designed to stimulate innovation for new tools and to ensure access to the resulting products.
Doing so requires addressing 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.
This position has focused on strengthening the Access Campaign’s work in this area, by critically analysing new proposals to stimulate innovation and access.
- PLACE IN THE ORGANISATION
The Access Campaign is an MSF transversal advocacy entity accountable to the ExCom platform of the Executive directors of all MSF sections, administratively housed by MSF International. While a significant part of the team is currently based in Geneva, other members are spread over a number of different MSF offices globally. The AC team consists currently of some 45 people including medical doctors, pharmacists, lab technicians, lawyers, campaigners, communication experts and support staff.
- 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 MSF 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).
- MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES
- Policy lead on biomedical research and development (R&D): building on work previously undertaken, develop the Access 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 and lead and coordinate the work of the R&D dossier. This includes convening a core R&D team within the Access Campaign to develop policy analysis and proposals for public facing campaigns; 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 of various institutions or organizations 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.
- Support the Head of Policy and contribute to the strengthening of the Policy team, in collaboration with team colleagues.
- Contribute to efforts to promote key campaign issues, on occasion substituting for other policy advisors, if appropriate.
- 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 global health and access to medicines and innovation.
- Fluency in English.
- Excellent writing skills
- Ability to work independently; capacity to take initiative and seize opportunities.
- Availability to travel to other MSF offices, field projects and relevant meetings.
- Computer literate (Word, Excel, Internet).
- Fluency in French.
- Experience of working with the media.
- Experience in development of public facing campaigns.
- Experience in biomedical research and development
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted
MSF is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.