We now live in a world that is fast paced, advanced and where new developments and breakthrough research takes place every single day. The technology that is new today transforms to an affair of the past in a matter of days, and what the human mind used to think of as impossible is already being achieved and transforming into reality. This is especially true in the field of medicine. As more and more research takes place, new thoughts and ideas emerge, which again lead to new research and development. Throughout this whole process a lot of information gets generated which is necessary to be effectively managed and communicated to a wide range of audiences such as the doctors, drug regulatory agencies and the general public. This is where medical writing comes into picture, and if you analyze, effective medical writing is an indispensable part of new research and development. Medical writing in the simplest language can be defined as the, “writing of scientific documents by writers in the field of medicine”. Medical writers may not necessarily be the researchers who were actually involved in conducting the experiment or research, but closely work with them as a team so as to accurately present the results in a written format to the scientific community. If quality research performed is not presented appropriately, the research may seem to be flawed to the medical fraternity.
Medical writers must at least have the basic knowledge of medical terminology, should have good writing flow and must have the ability to present the data in a format and language that the target audience will understand. Not just that, many documents in the drug development industry require to be written in specific formats and templates which the medical writer must be aware of. What makes good medical writing ‘good’ is the right balance of science and art.
Over the last few years the demand for medical writers (both freelance and full time) has seen an increase. This can be attributed to an increased number of medical research activities taking place across the world, right from basic laboratory research (bench work) to pre-clinical to human testing of new drugs and devices. This trend is evident from the increased number of scientific articles that are getting published in reputed journals. The increasing use of the ‘internet’ has also led to an increased demand for writers as more and more companies move towards making information available online for professionals and the general public.
Recent surveys have shown that medical writing continues to be an area of outsourcing to Asia for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The medical writing market doubled from an estimated $345 million to $694 million between 2003 and 2008 according to a CenterWatch report. Considering this trend and looking at the number of qualified, English speaking science graduates in India, medical writing can be a very exciting and lucrative career option.
In our next post, we will discuss in detail the different types of medical writing that you may come across.