Medical Communications agency is an attractive place to work for medical writers—where every day is different and brings new experiences and opportunities to continually learn and challenge oneself. There are ample opportunities to grow into functional and/or operational roles making it a lifelong career in the medical communications field.
The key ingredients that go into the making of a good professional medical writer are flair for writing, a clear understanding of medical science, command over the language, identification of target audience, attention to detail, good analytical skills, stakeholder management, working on tight deadlines and team skills.1 Graduates and postgraduates in Life Sciences/Medicine who have the right skills and aptitude make a good fit as professional medical writers. Those in core scientific roles benefit with a PhD, but it is not mandatory to grow in the medical writing field. Most of the professional medical writers work within the pharmaceutical industry, medical communication agencies, contract research organizations, knowledge process outsourcing companies, or independently as freelancers. There are other settings as well, where they are employed, such as media and publishing companies, medical journals, academic medical institutions, medical/scientific societies, healthcare websites, news organizations, and government organizations.2
The medical communications agency comprises a variety of roles that sets multiple growth options for medical writers to grow in functional and operational roles. In the functional role, writers are part of the core scientific team and focus on quality content development. While in the operational roles, one can choose to get into team management or client facing roles and perform client services. There are also opportunities to make a lateral move across functional and operational domains, making it a lifetime fulfilling career.1 In a medical communications agency, the functional growth avenues span from entry level as a junior writer designated as Associate Medical Writer/Scientific Writer/Publication Writer and can grow vertically into a functional role as a Senior Writer → Expert Writer → Principal Writer level. Other opportunities in the functional domain are editorial roles such as Copy Editor, Scientific Editor, Quality Lead, and Subject Matter Expert roles such as Medical Lead/Scientific Lead/Publication Lead → Communications Strategy Director or as a Medical Director.
In a large sized medical communications agency, there are equally good opportunities in the operational domain. One can enter a people management role as a Team Lead and grow up vertically with increasing people management responsibilities as a Group Lead → Function Head → Practice Head level. If the thought of people management does not appeal, an aspect commonly associated with medical writers, there are other avenues to grow in the operational domain as an individual contributor. These are client-facing roles with different titles mostly with overlapping responsibilities:
- Project Specialist → Project Managers/Event Manager/Event Lead
- Medical Communications Lead/Publications Manager/Service Manager → Service Liaison
- Account Manager → Account Director
- Operations Manager → Operations Director
Medical writer’s skills are transferable and based on one’s choice and aptitude, one can grow in the functional and/or operational domain.
1. Rajeev P, Makhija M. Awareness of medical writing as a profession and its career prospects. EMWA Journal 2018;27(4):46-51.
2. Sharma S. How to become a competent medical writer? Perspect Clin Res 2010;1(1):33-7
Enago Life Sciences is a leading global medical communications partner to healthcare and biopharmaceutical companies, offering a full range of services supporting brand strategies through development phases to commercialization. Whether it is an early development product with a potential market launch or a mature brand relaunch demanding robust publication plan; peer-reviewed publications; medical educational material or digital graphic design, we have the expertise to meet all your needs. Our global team of experts has extensive knowledge and unsurpassed experience in a broad range of therapeutic areas. We focus our innovation on factors critical to our clients – reducing time to market, reducing costs, and improving quality.