Medical Writers find their way into a number of different types of organisations. As full time professionals, medical writers can be employed by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, clinical research organizations (CROs), health regulatory authorities, communications agencies, healthcare journals and websites etc.
Medical writers working in contract research, pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies are mainly involved in regulatory medical writing wherein they contribute towards preparation of different types of documents needed for submissions to international regulatory agencies such as the US FDA, EMEA, DCGI etc, for the conduct of new clinical studies or for registering new products. Some of these documents are the clinical study protocol, clinical study report, informed consent forms etc. Medical writers also contribute towards writing manuscripts for publication in various national and international medical / scientific journals.
If it is a pharmaceutical company with a large portfolio of drugs in the market, then medical writers are also involved in developing medico-marketing materials (promotional material), training manuals, website content etc in addition to regulatory medical writing.
If you are a creative person and think out of the box, then working as a writer in communications agencies is a good option. Regulatory medical writing or medico-marketing writing in drug development companies does not provide writers with much scope of using their own creativity as set templates and formats exist for almost every document. Considering this, working for communications agencies is generally considered to be more exciting as it exposes medical writers to different kinds of writing assignments where they can apply their own thinking along with visual and writing styles. In such an organization medical writers may be involved in writing abstracts, posters, training and educational material, slide presentations, website content, academic writing etc.
Freelancing is a great career option for some, especially those who prefer to work from home, or those who due to some obligations cannot work in full time roles. If you are good at what you do, freelancing can at times prove to be more lucrative than working full time with any particular company. If you are new to the field of medical writing then it is good to not start as a freelance writer. It is advised to start your career working as an employee for a company. This will provide you the experience you need to start working as a freelancer, will teach you some tricks-of-the-trade, polish your writing skills and also make you aware of the expectations in the industry. On the job you may also develop some important contacts that can get you repeat business when you start working as a freelancer.
“I have started my career as a medical writer but what’s the future?”
Most medical writers after gaining significant experience in the industry eventually move into leadership roles. In such management positions they usually handle large teams of scientific and medical writers and manage local and international level assignments. Many medical writers during their early years use their knowledge and skill of medical writing as a launch pad to diversify into other areas of interest such as clinical research, regulatory affairs, quality assurance and even marketing. If you have the entrepreneurial bug in you, you can also consider setting you your own medical writing or publishing company!