What is Medical Writing?

Medical writing involves the development and production of print or digital well-structured scientific documents that deal specifically with medicine or health care. It communicates medical, scientific, or health information to a variety of audiences including the general public, patients, healthcare professionals, as well as regulatory authorities. 

Professional medical writers require an understanding of the medical concepts and terminology, knowledge of relevant guidelines as regards the structure and contents of specific documents, and good writing skills. They adapt medical information into a variety of formats based on the target audience of the final material. 


Types of Medical Writing 

 Medical writing involves writing different types of documents for different purposes, and for different audiences. Following are examples of different kinds of medical writing: 

 Regulatory writing: It refers to writing all documents related to clinical trials and/or intended to be submitted to regulatory authorities, such as: Study protocols, informed consent forms (ICF), case report forms (CRF/eCRF), clinical study reports (CSR), investigator brochures (IB), investigational medicinal product dossier (IMPD) and common technical document (CTD). 

 Medical communications: It refers to preparing materials to be presented to a wider audience, such as Manuscripts to be submitted to scientific/medical journals, abstract and poster for conferences presentations, advisory Board Meeting MoM reports and patient Leaflets. 

 Furthermore, medical writers also support medical translators to ensure the scientific accuracy of translated documents. 

 Over and above that, a relatively newer type of medical writing emerged, the pharmacovigilance medical writing, which covers the preparation of pharmacovigilance documents for all stages of the drug development process, including different types of safety reports such as DSURs, PSURs, etc. 

Who requires medical writers? 

Medial writers mostly work with the pharmaceutical (employed by pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies). However, there are many other settings in which medical writers are required like contract research organizations (CROs), healthcare institutions such as medical societies or hospitals, regulatory authorities/agencies, medical and scientific journals offering writing support or as part of the editorial team, medical communications agencies and other fields. 

Requirements for becoming a Medical Writer  

While there is no formal qualification or degree for one to become a medical writer, there are some key skills that they should have to be competent and succeed in their career. 

The basic pre-requisite is of course, familiarity with medical concepts and terminology. An academic qualification in one of the life sciences or paramedical sciences can provide the right background which makes the writer familiar with scientific concepts and research data. 

Another important pre-requisite is the ability to write. This requires some degree of command over the language, reflected by an ability to write grammatically correct text, and an ability to express and present information clearly. 

In addition to the above basic requirements, one needs attention to details and statistical knowledge to be able to understand and interpret research data.