Oxfam's Policy Pusher

David Earnshaw doesn't quite see himself as a poacher turned gamekeeper. Still, the British-born head of Oxfam International's Brussels office has raised eyebrows since April in his campaign to change the World Trade Organization's global patent rules so that developing countries can get cheap medicines. Until the end of February, he was the chief advocate at the E.U. for a very different employer — SmithKline Beecham, which merged with Glaxo Wellcome last year to form GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's pharmaceutical giants.

"My views have never been a secret," says Earnshaw, 42, an...

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