MedComms Careers Guide

careersguidecover_369x521This guide focuses on medical writing careers in medical communications, in particular in MedComms agencies. The MedComms industry provides consultancy services to pharmaceutical companies, and the role of the medical writer is to use science and language to deliver these services successfully, while working to the highest ethical standards and adhering to industry regulations and guidelines.

The aim of this guide is to give you the information you need to decide if you are suited to the role of medical writer, and to provide the insider knowledge you need to excel at interview.

This issue includes six personal profiles written by current medical writing specialists in leading MedComms agencies, describing their personal journeys in to MedComms and the day-to-day work they now do and an updated Directory of agency contacts.

The careers guide is freely available here and published by NetworkPharma Ltd. We update the guide every year and the latest edition was published in March 2017.

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Successful internships: a company perspective

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Costello Medical Consulting have been running an internship programme since 2012 and this is described in the following article, which was previously published in the Journal of the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA); Medical Writing, Volume 25 issue 3, September 2016.

Authors; Debbie Nixon and Sophie Pearson of Costello Medical Consulting

Medical communications is a rapidly growing industry and competition for experienced recruits is often fierce. Paradoxically, however, ‘getting your foot in the door’ can be very difficult for those without formal medical writing experience. Thus, for applicants wishing to embark on a career in medical communications, prior experience can strengthen a candidate’s CV and provide them with an invaluable insight into the day-to-day life of a medical writer.

In lieu of previous employment in the medical writing field, a well-structured internship should also enable the intern to sharpen their writing and editorial skills, whilst learning more about the healthcare industry in general, ultimately increasing their chances of finding a suitable job in medical communications. There are also notable benefits for the host company, since the additional resource provided by interns can make important contributions to project work, easing the workloads of perm- anent staff, and provide opportunities to staff members looking for line management experience. Moreover, a successful period of on-the-job training and development of a core set of medical writing skills may result in the offer of a permanent position with the host company or elsewhere.

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Top ten questions about careers in MedComms

mew-252-front-coverPublished in the June 2016 issue of Medical Writing, written by Peter Llewellyn and Annick Moon

AbstractNetworkPharma has been running a series of careers events and workshops aimed at entry-level jobs in MedComms, and publish a careers guide, From Academic to Medical Writer, which is updated annually in March. In this article, Peter Llewellyn from NetworkPharma, and Annick Moon, author of the careers guide, answer some of the most prevalent questions asked by entry-level candidates at the workshops they have attended over the past decade. The areas covered focus on jobs in MedComms, particularly medical writing in the UK.

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A PhD and medical writing: A good match

mew-252-front-coverPublished in the June 2016 issue of Medical Writing, written by Benjamin Gallarda

AbstractThe transition out of academia can involve a good deal of change. For PhDs who enjoy writing, a career in medical communications is a viable option. The field of medical writing is broad, encompassing everything from regulatory affairs, to writing and editing manuscripts, to medical education and promotion. Despite numerous novel experiences offered by medical writing, several skills typically acquired during the course of a PhD programme align nicely with the new requirements and responsibilities. From the perspective of a medical communications agency, PhDs form an important bridge between the need for deep and thorough biomedical knowledge and the daily responsibilities of writing, editing, educating and promoting. Should one choose to apply these skills to medical writing, the result can be an interesting and enjoyable work for the PhD, and a benefit to the employing agency.

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Writing for pharmaceutical or medical device companies: A survey of entry requirements, career paths, quality of life, and personal observations

mew-252-front-coverPublished in the June 2016 issue of Medical Writing, written by Steven Walker and colleagues.

Abstract: The spectrum of medical writing activities across the pharmaceutical and device industries is vast. We conducted a limited survey of medical writers predominantly working in industry or for agencies to learn of their personal and professional experiences. Our results showed that writers entering the medical communications world came from diverse backgrounds and had a variety of reasons for choosing this career path. Most had a scientific background and were highly qualified. Though at times stressful and involving long hours, medical writing was generally a satisfying and well-rewarded career choice. Several individual responses suggested a lack of appreciation and poor cooperation on the part of some clients and/or authors. Quality of life differed little between pharmaceutical and device employees. While many skills are transferable, those wishing to change focus from pharmaceuticals to medical devices or vice versa may face challenges. Respondents offered a range of advice for new recruits.

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