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[Response to Nathan] -- The science in medical writing

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:28 pm
by MPB

Nathan asked me a question in another thread about the degree of science in medical writing jobs.

The scientific complexity of medical writing jobs in a medical communications company really varies a lot. You are usually writing education programs for physicians, or sometimes for pharmacists or nurses. So the focus is really clinical -- mechanism of action, efficacy, tolerability, safety, how the agent compares with other medications for the same indication. It helps to have a good grasp of physiology and statistics. When there is a lot of science involved, you are usually trying to explain to physicians as simply as possible how some new drug works. There are really not that many radically new drug mechanisms -- new ones tend to tinker with mechanisms or delivery systems that are already well established. The main challenge is that you have to be able to absorb a lot of information about a completely unfamiliar topic in a short period of time and then write or speak about it accurately and with authority. One day you may be working on arthritis, and the next day you may be asked to write a detailed proposal on Sjogren\'s syndrome or Crohn disease. You also have to know something about the marketing positions of the various competing products in the same marketplace. I see a lot of PhDs move into these jobs and not do well in them because they have spent their entire careers thinking about one little pathway, and it\'s hard to be able to think flexibly about anything that comes your way. Understanding the science of your various therapeutic areas is important but I would say that that is about 10% of the overall job of a medical writer.

There is a ton of med-ed stuff on the internet. If you search for \"educational grant\" + [name of disease] you will find a lot of programs. You might take a look at some and see what they entail.