28 October 2016
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The mission of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.
Vacancy Notice No: HQ/14/RHT/FT303
Title: Technical Officer (Medicines Safety)
Grade: P5
Contract type: Fixed-term Appointment
Duration of contract:  One year renewable, subject to satisfactory performance and continuing need for the post
Date: 3 July 2014
Application Deadline: 10 July 2014 Vacancy Filled
Duty Station:  Geneva, Switzerland
Organization unit: HQ/RHT Regulation of Medicines and other Health Technologies (HQ/RHT) /
HQ/SAV Safety and Vigilance (HQ/SAV)
WHO carries out its work in the area of essential medicines and health products at the global, regional and country level. At WHO Headquarters, medicine-related activities are planned and implemented by the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products (EMP), within the Health Systems and Innovation (HIS) Cluster, in the wider framework of Universal Health Coverage. The Safety and Vigilance (SAV) team is part of the Regulation of Medicines and other Health Technologies (RHT) unit within EMP. The overall goal of SAV is to assure safety and safe use of health technologies (devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems) in patients and populations, to support Member States to enhance their infrastructure and capacity for medical product vigilance, to encourage participation of Member States in the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring, and to respond to safety concerns of global importance. It does so through promotion of SAV activities throughout the Organization; and by provision of reliable, timely, balanced and neutral information, safety data, alerts, and evidence based policy advice to public health programmes and to Member States. The WHO programme for International Drug Monitoring (established in 1968) provides a structured forum for WHO Member States to collaborate in the monitoring of drug safety and to advance pharmacovigilance best practices worldwide. SAV provides the policy and strategic framework for this Programme, develops relevant norms, standards and guidelines and supports their implementation in Member States, in partnership with the Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) and other WHO Collaborating Centres set up for the purpose.
Description of duties:
The SAV - Medicines Safety Group Lead will be responsible for the overall management of medicines-related SAV activities. S/he will lead, drive, facilitate and oversee various activities and deliverables to realize WHO core functions as follows:
1. Take overall responsibility for the management of the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring and related technical activities ensuring its continuity and development.
2. Function as Secretary to the WHO Advisory Committee on Safety of Medicinal Products by preparing the agenda and scientific content for the committee meetings; follow up the recommendations of the Committee, to develop, adapt and maintain relevant norms and standards in pharmacovigilance, with a focus on pharmacovigilance requirements within resource limited settings.
3. Lead the work of the International Working Group on Drug Statistics Methodology, to develop the Anatomical, Therapeutic and Chemical classification system and the Defined Daily Dose (ATC DDD) system and its use in drug utilization research in countries.
4. Provide oversight to the work of the WHO Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring in Sweden, and to other relevant WHO Collaborating Centres, to ensure complementarity activities with SAV objectives and work-plans.
5. Represent WHO in pharmacovigilance-related Working Groups in the International Conference of Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) including MedDRA Management Board.
6. Function as alternate member on the Board of the Foundation, the Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC).
7. In close collaboration with member countries and the UMC, organize the Annual meetings of representatives of National Pharmacovigilance Centres participating in the WHO programme for International Drug Monitoring; develop the scientific agenda, and support the implementation of recommendations from these meetings.
8. In close collaboration with member countries, WHO Regional and Country Offices, Regulatory Systems Strengthening (RSS) and other partners, develop and roll out country-oriented programs for strengthening pharmacovigilance systems in the countries.
9. Collaborate with public health programmes in WHO, to promote pharmacovigilance within these programmes; provide scientific input for the benefit-harm assessment of medicines within these programmes; implement the risk management concepts of medicines safety for priority Essential Medicines, and medicines handled by the WHO Prequalification Team (PQT).
10. Cooperate with and provide scientific input to the work of other WHO expert committees such as the Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines and the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.
11. Participate and contribute to planning and implementing activities related to pharmacovigilance in the International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA).
12. Supervise and guide work related to the WHO Pharmaceuticals Newsletter, Drug Alerts, Restricted Pharmaceuticals lists and other publications used by SAV to provide medicines safety and regulatory information to Member States.
13. Perform other duties as may be assigned.
In executing the above duties, the SAV- Medicines Safety Group Lead will collaborate with Governments, Ministries of Health, Heads of Pharmacovigilance Centres, Stringent Regulatory Agencies such as United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), international donors, inter-Government agencies, industry associations (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations - IFPMA), professional organizations (International Society of Pharmacovigilance - ISOP, International Pharmaceutical Federation - FIP), and global health community, to leverage human and financial resources and technical expertise, to support pharmacovigilance in low and middle income countries. The incumbent will work independently under the supervision of the SAV Team Coordinator. S/he will collaborate with other staff in the SAV team, other teams within RHT, other programmes in EMP, in the HIS cluster and across the organization, in particular, the WHO public health programmes, WHO Regional and Country Offices. S/he will liaise closely with national pharmacovigilance centres, external pharmacovigilance experts, WHO Collaborating Centres, in particular the UMC and other collaborating centres for the WHO Pharmacovigilance programme in Accra, the Netherlands, Oslo and Rabat, for the everyday implementation of the SAV medicines safety programme. S/he will discuss policies, controversial issues or potential conflicts and their solutions with the Team Coordinator.
Essential: An advanced university degree (Masters level or above) in pharmacy or medicine with a PhD in Pharmacy or another related medical field.
Desirable: Postdoctoral specialization in pharmacology or related science.
Essential: Excellent knowledge of pharmacovigilance principles, methods, practical applications and current developments. Sound and demonstrable (example published works) understanding of the scope of pharmacovigilance, challenges and opportunities in low and middle income countries. Proven skills in developing pharmacovigilance proposals and fund-raising. Excellent drafting and editorial ability, good communication skills with excellent judgement and ability to develop sustained and productive relationships with senior officials in medicines regulatory authorities, the donor community and industry.
Desirable: Knowledge of international environment and platforms for co-operations between national and international organizations. Ability to establish and maintain excellent relations with officials at all levels. Ability to exercise sound professional judgment. Membership in a relevant professional organization /association.Sound writing and editorial skills.
WHO Competencies:
1. Moving forward in a changing environment
2. Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond, and
3. Producing results.
Essential: A minimum of 10 years of experience working with pharmaceuticals of which at least five should be linked to medicines safety work in an international environment. Well established writing and drafting skills in the area of medicines safety and pharmacovigilance. Experience in organizing major international events of significance and impact; demonstrable experience in successful project writing, proven track record in fundraising and project management activities.
Desirable: Experience in capacity building for pharmacovigilance in resourced limited settings and working with other parties and International Organizations engaged in medicines safety. Experience in developing pharmacovigilance strategies for resource limited settings, methods for charactering medicines safety issues in special populations and treatment groups; demonstrable partnerships with major initiatives such as the Global Fund, Stop TB partnership, Roll Back Malaria, USAID etc.
Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
Desirable: Beginners knowledge of French and/or any other official UN languages.
Additional Information:
Other similar positions at the same grade level may be filled from this vacancy notice.

This vacancy is published in English only.
Annual salary: (Net of tax)
US$80,887 at single rate
US$87,069 with primary dependants
Post Adjustment: 108.8 % of the above figure(s). This percentage is to be considered as indicative since variations may occur each month either upwards or downwards due to currency exchange rate fluctuations or inflation.

This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level.

A written test and interviews may be used as a form of screening

Online applications are strongly encouraged to enable WHO to store your profile in a permanent database. Please visit WHO's e-Recruitment website at: The system provides instructions for online application procedures.
All applicants are encouraged to apply online as soon as possible after the vacancy has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the vacancy announcement.

WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual. Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.

Vacancy Filled

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