Medical communications and medical writing

This page outlines opportunities in medical communications and medical writing, including the skills you will need and how to maximise your chances of getting in 

What opportunities are there?

Many medical writers work in medical communications agencies whom provide consultancy services to the pharmaceutical industry.

Agencies may specialise in:

  • legal and regulatory documentation
  • medical education and publications
  • advertising and promotions

Medical writers in medical communications agencies may:

  • provide materials to ensure doctors are informed about new medicines, medical technologies (such as implants and prostheses), medical equipment and diagnostic tests and how to use them
  • be involved in the development of a new drug. They may write protocols (which describe how each study is to be run), clinical study reports and submissions to regulatory authorities, presenting a case as to why a drug should be approved for use. They may also make appraisals of a drug that has been licensed or a comparison of various treatments for a condition
  • produce conference materials or marketing information. You could be involved in reporting on medical conferences, typically for a pharmaceutical company corporate magazine or to produce marketing materials. Medical writers are also used to transcribe conference presentations, first-hand or from sound recordings or video, particularly if the presentation isn’t clear or the speaker’s first language isn’t English

Other medical writing opportunities

  • medical writers may also work directly for pharmaceutical companies or in contract research organisations (CROs), health insurance companies, health authorities, government and quasi-government agencies, doctors’ organisations such as the BMA and organisations like the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which part-publishes the British National Formulary (BNF), a pharmaceutical reference book
  • there is also work for specialist organisations that produce systematic reviews of medical literature and other evidence-based medicine material, like Bazian and the Cochrane Library
  • the job can also involve writing primary papers, reviews, manuscripts for publication in medical journals, newsletters and content for websites.  You could also write patient information leaflets, information resources for doctors and healthcare staff and promotional materials
  • there are also opportunities in medical editing, which involves checking other writers’ work for scientific accuracy and grammatical and editorial errors
Make a comment or report a problem with this page

Help us improve