Avanir Pharmaceuticals

Director, Advocacy

Aliso Viejo, CA, United States
Feb 03, 2021
Biotech Beach
Required Education
Bachelors Degree
Position Type
Full time

The Director, Advocacy is an important position that represents Avanir, its research, and its values for patient-centered care in CNS areas of high unmet need. The Director is responsible for all Advocacy strategy and execution in alignment with Avanir's business priorities. These areas of responsibility affect all aspects of the business in the short and long-term including Avanir's external engagement and reputation. The Advocacy Director is recognized as an active leader in the pharmaceutical industry, serving as the Avanir representative with professional societies, medical societies, patient associations, caregiver associations, aging advocacy associations, and other organizations.

Essential Job Functions:

  • Evaluate positions of professional societies, medical associations, patient & caregiver advocacy organizations, aging & geriatric advocacy organizations.
  • Develop and execute national advocacy strategy with emphasis on neuropsychiatric symptoms.
  • Ensure Avanir is compliant with all federal and state laws and regulations related to advocacy.
  • Identify specific opportunities to support the business, our customers, and the patients we seek to serve, and play an active role in leadership.
  • Educate third party stakeholder organizations
  • Develop and lead creative programs in collaboration with key internal teams
  • Identify, prioritize, and execute organization-specific engagement plans, including involvement of senior leadership where appropriate.
  • Identify key strategic Company representation and advocacy activities at patient and health policy conferences, advocacy meetings, and briefings related to patient, caregiver, professional and medical associations—lead planning and execution efforts for relevant activities.





  • Become a trusted and credible partner for external stakeholders, including advocacy organizations, patient and medical communities, ensuring understanding of specific challenges and needs.
  • Actively monitor new developments and insights in the field of advocacy and incorporate such developments, ideas, and strategies into the development and execution of programs
  • Champion the patient voice and experience internally among Avanir employees in support of patient-centric approach and Avanir's Cares Culture; collaborate internally & externally with Corporate Communications.






  • Head of Government Affairs
  • Senior Director of Government Affairs & Policy
  • CEO
  • Legal Department
  • VP Clinical Development & Scientific Strategy
  • Executive Director, Medical Affairs, and others.






  • Advocacy Organizations with (Federal and State policy) focus - e.g., Leading Edge, Alzheimer's associations, Aging & Geriatric Societies, Caregiver Advocacy Organizations, Minority & Multicultural Advocacy Organizations, Patient Advocacy Organizations focusing on Neuropsychiatric Symptoms, Neurobehaviors, CNS disorders of high unmet need.
  • Key Professional Society and Medical, Nursing, Pharmacy Associations focusing on specialty therapeutic areas like CNS, Neurology, Psychiatry, Psychology, Neurobehaviors, etc and specialty care areas like senior care continuum, Long Term Care systems of care, etc.


This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee. Other duties, responsibilities and activities may change or be assigned at any time with or without notice.

Education/ Qualifications:




  • Bachelor's degree required, preferably in English, communications, journalism, healthcare, science, or health policy.
  • Advanced degree (e.g., JD, MBA, MPA, MPP) preferred.
  • 15+ years of relevant experience in advocacy (public policy, health policy and government affairs), preferably in the biopharmaceutical industry or pharmaceutical industry, including 10+ years of management experience. Or 12+ years of related experience with an advanced degree.
  • A thorough understanding of patient advocacy, medical advocacy, grassroots advocacy with strong understanding of health policy, legislative/regulatory processes, proven track record of successful advocacy and winning campaigns.
  • Experience managing relationships with third party stakeholders, patient advocacy, medical advocacy, grassroots organization, and experience helping to shape positive public opinion.
  • Strong business and financial skills. Proven ability to manage significant budget.
  • Strong knowledge of the access and reimbursement environment for pharmaceutical products, specifically Medicare, Medicaid, VA, commercial payor related challenges.
  • Ability to manage multiple, complex issues.
  • High-energy, self-motivated, positive attitude
  • Clear reputation for ethical conduct


Physical Requirements:

This position primarily works in the field. It requires the ability to sit or stand for long periods of time and frequent walking. Daily use of a computer, phone, office equipment and other computing and digital devices is required. May be required to stand for extended periods when facilitating meetings or walking in the facilities. Some local travel may be necessary, so the ability to travel by plane, operate a motor vehicle and maintain a valid Driver's license and/or effectively navigate public transportation is required. While performing the responsibilities of the job, the employee must be able to read and respond to interoffice communications as well as effectively participate in meetings. The employee is often required to sit and use their hands and fingers, to lift up to 20 lbs., pull, push, carry, handle or feel. The employee is required to carry, handle items, reach with arms and hands, to stoop, kneel, or crouch; talk or hear. Mental demands may require prolonged concentration, reading comprehension, understanding and interpretation of concepts, ideas and philosophies. The physical demands of the position described herein are essential functions of the job and employees must be able to successfully perform these tasks for extended periods. Reasonable accommodations may be made for those individuals with real or perceived disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job described unless such accommodations would cause Avanir an undue burden.

Work Environment:

While performing the responsibilities of the job, these work environment characteristics are representative of the environment the job holder will encounter. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable people with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job unless such accommodations would cause Avanir an undue burden. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to moving carts, mechanical equipment (copiers, computers, coffee machines) and vehicles. May be subject to smells and odors. The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet to moderate. The passage of employees through the work area is average and normal.

EEO Statement:

As an equal opportunity employer, Avanir Pharmaceuticals is committed to providing all applicants and employees with equal access to employment opportunities, regardless of sex, race, age, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, pregnancy, religion, genetic information, sexual orientation transgender status, gender identity, marital status, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. All Avanir Pharmaceuticals employees, officers, principles, agents, and representatives are expressly prohibited from engaging in unlawful discrimination. Consistent with federal, state, and local requirements, Avanir Pharmaceuticals will reasonably accommodate any qualified individual with a disability if such accommodation would allow the individual to perform the essential functions or the job, unless doing so would create an undue hardship.

Avanir Pharmaceuticals shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR-60-300.5(a) and 60-741.5(a). These regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals on the basis of protected veteran status or disability, and require affirmative action by covered prime contractors and subcontractors to employ and advance in employment qualified protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.