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From academic
to medical writer

A guide to

getting started
in medical
communications
Written by Dr Annick Moon
Published by NetworkPharma

For more information about medical communications see

www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

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of collaboration

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Acknowledgements

12/03/2014 11:20

Many thanks to the numerous members of the MedComms Networking Community who have contributed their thoughts and
comments during the development of this publication. If you have any feedback please let us know.
Further copies are available to download directly if you visit www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout
Printed copies of this guide are also available if you contact the Publisher, Peter Llewellyn: peter@networkpharma.com

From academic to medical writer: a guide to getting started in medical communications


New edition published March 2014 by NetworkPharma Ltd
First published March 2009 by NetworkPharma Ltd
Magdalen Centre, Oxford Science Park, Oxford, OX4 4GA, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 784390
Web: www.networkpharma.comemail: support@networkpharma.com
2014 NetworkPharma Ltd
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.
ISBN: 978-1-905676-38-5
Managing Director: Peter Llewellyn; Production/editorial: Gill Gummer;
Design and print: www.informationpress.com
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically, mechanically,
recorded or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.
The publisher and author have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this publication but cannot accept responsibility for any errors or
omissions. Registered names, trademarks etc. used in this publication, even when not marked as such, are not to be considered unprotected by law.

Foreword to 2014 edition


This introduction to medical writing, first published in 2009, provides a useful resource for anyone
thinking of a career in medical communications. Its continued success has prompted this, our sixth
edition, in 2014, and we plan to continue this annual exercise to ensure that the information is
always as up-to-date as possible.

Foreword to the first edition


The University of Oxford has been running career events in medical writing since 2007 in
collaboration with NetworkPharma, and Annick has been a regular contributor. The combination
of enthusiasm and professionalism that these medical communications experts have brought to
our portfolio of careers events has made these events really successful. We have had participants
from as far afield as Manchester coming along, and have recently opened up our 1-day events to
Universities across the South of England and Midlands.
These events, and the interaction between the University of Oxford Skills Training group and the
Careers Service, has opened doors for our Masters students, graduate research students and also
our highly skilled post-doctoral community. The intensive 2-day events that have been organised
in collaboration with NetworkPharma have been particularly successful in identifying those
who would flourish in a career in medical communications. The events include a speed-dating
session, introducing attendees to medical communications agencies.
In this useful and clear introduction to the world of medical writing and the exciting careers it
offers, its particularly pleasing to see contributions from former post-doctoral scientists from the
Medical Sciences Division in the University of Oxford.
Professor Edith Sim
Director of Graduate Training
Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford
March 2009

About the author


Annick Moon is a freelance medical communications consultant and writer,
living and working in Oxford. After gaining a degree and doctorate in physiology
from Newcastle, she undertook post-doctoral research at Oxford and
Manchester. During her time as an academic, she was an editorial committee
member for the Physiological Societys magazine. Annick worked as a medical
writer for 5 years in various agencies, before setting up on her own in 2006.

Contents









Introduction4
The pharmaceutical industry
5
A rough guide to agency services
7
What is a medical communications agency?
8
So you want to be a medical writer
11
Further information
15
People in the job in their own words
16
Directory MedComms
23
Directory recruitment
30
Directory training
31

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

Introduction
After years of hard work, you have finally got your doctorate. Or maybe youve got a few postdocs under your belt. Lectureships are hard to come by. Grant application after grant application
is unsuccessful. As one short-term contract begins, it is time to start looking about for the next.
Sound familiar? Time to leave academia, but feel like youve occupied a narrow scientific niche for
so long that youve specialised yourself out of the job market?
Leaving academia doesnt mean turning your back on science. Your vast scientific knowledge, and
your research and analytical skills are truly valuable have you ever thought about a career in
medical communications?
So what is medical communications?

No
Journalism
Academic publishing

Yes
Providing consultancy services to the pharmaceutical industry
to help raise awareness of medicines via education and promotion

Medical communications provides consultancy services


to the pharmaceutical industry to help raise awareness
of medicines via education and promotion

About this guide


This guide focuses primarily on the role of the medical writer in medical
communications agencies. The medical writers role is to use science and
language to deliver education and communication programmes for the
pharmaceutical industry, while working to the highest ethical standards and
adhering to industry regulations and guidelines.
The aim of this guide is to give the industry 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.
For more information about starting out in medical communications
and details of careers events, past and future, visit

www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout
Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

The pharmaceutical
industry
OK. So you know the pharmaceutical industry develops new drugs that treat diseases and
improve the lives of people. But how much do you really know about bringing a drug to market?

From bench to benefit


A medicine starts out as a new chemical entity which, after many years of basic research, has
emerged as a potential treatment for a particular disease. To put this in context, consider that of
10,000 promising new chemical entities, if 1 makes it to the first stage of a clinical trial, the R&D
department are doing well. The new chemical entity must then undergo many years of clinical
development, and must fulfil many criteria before eventually being approved for use as a
medicine.

Developing a drug can take up to


15 years and the cost can run
into the billions

Getting a drug from the


laboratory through all of the
necessary clinical trials and
regulatory administration,
and approved for release
on the healthcare market
represents a major triumph for
a pharmaceutical company;
indeed, developing a drug can take up to 15 years and the cost can run into the billions but
the story doesnt end there. To get doctors to prescribe the medicine, you have to tell them about
it, which usually involves marketing and communications activities: ensuring that doctors are
well informed about a new medicine is essential if it is to be used appropriately, and ultimately
improve the health of many thousands of people.
To appreciate the scale of the from bench to benefit process, it is first necessary to consider the
phases of clinical development.

Pre-clinical
Before a new drug can be tested in people, it must undergo rigorous pre-clinical testing both
in vitro and in suitable animal models, also known as non-clinical testing. During this phase,
important pharmacological data are obtained about drug dosing, and potential hazards and risks
are identified. This allows the regulatory authorities to make a risk assessment and consider the
drugs suitability for testing in humans.

Phase I
Once approved for testing in humans, Phase I can begin
(sometimes known as a first-time-in-man study). Phase
I studies typically involve a small number of healthy
human volunteers in whom the chemical toxicity and
the clinical side-effects of the drug are investigated.
Volunteers receive various doses of the drug, and the
aim is to determine the drugs pharmacokinetic and
pharmacodynamic profile in humans.

2009 Imogen Childs

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

Phase II
After the initial safety testing in human volunteers is complete, the drug can be tested in patients.
The aim of a Phase II trial is to provide proof-of-principle and to assess the clinical benefits of
the drug, in addition to the side-effects, sometimes in comparison with placebo. The benefit/risk
profile of the drug is then used to plan the next phase of development.

Phase III
If the Phase II study shows the drug to provide a good clinical effect without producing
unacceptable side-effects, then a larger Phase III study can begin. A Phase III trial must compare
the new medicine to the current standard treatment for the disease (although comparison with a
placebo is possible if there is no suitable active comparator). A PhaseIII trial is designed to show
a statistical difference between the new drug and the comparator, and establish its therapeutic
benefit and side-effect profile.
If efficacy is established in Phase III trials, then all data are submitted to the regulatory agencies
who will decide whether the drug can be marketed based on the strength of evidence.

Phase IV
Phase IV trials are often referred to as post-marketing surveillance studies following a successful
Phase III trial the drug will have been approved and marketed, so a Phase IV trial is used to gather
information in large populations to assess optimal use and side-effects that may not have been
identified in a clinical trial setting.

Lifecycle management
Most pharmaceutical products have patent protection for a limited number of years from launch,
during which time the company must recoup the development costs as well as make a profit.
Maximising sales involves regular marketing activities, while identifying additional diseases
against which the drug could be used.

Why does the pharmaceutical industry


need external consultants?
The simple answer to this question is that it makes financial sense for a pharmaceutical company
to outsource certain activities to external partners. From running a clinical trial to manufacturing
a box for the medicine, the pharmaceutical industry is supported by organisations and agencies,
each with specialist expertise.

A useful resource
AZ of Medicines Research by Stephen Bartlett, published by the Association of the British
Pharmaceutical Industry in 2007. Available free of charge from www.abpi.org.uk

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

A rough guide to
agency services
There are a range of different agency services and it can be confusing trying to figure out which
agency does what, especially as the terminology is often used inconsistently. Some agencies
concentrate on legal and regulatory documentation, others support publications and medical
education, and others focus on advertising and promotion. Some of the agencies offer a full
range of consultancy services, such as medical education, public relations, market research and
advertising, whereas some focus on a niche area.
Many of these agencies are part of a global group, with sister agencies covering the range of
healthcare communications and marketing services, and there are also many small independent
specialist agencies.
Medical communications agencies tend to have their roots in traditional medical education
project work but position themselves as strategic communication partners with a wider spectrum
of capabilities. You will often, therefore, find the terms medical communications and medical
education used interchangeably.

Regulatory affairs:
Clinical trial documentation (Clinical Trial Applications and Investigational
New Drug Applications); Marketing Authorisation Applications; New Drug
Applications

Health economics:
Materials to support cost-effectiveness messages

Public relations:
Materials to communicate with the media; issues management

Medical education:
Support of publication activities, including: journal manuscripts and conference
presentations; advisory boards

Advertising and branding:


Trade press; consumer adverts; sales aids; direct mail; exhibition stand materials

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

What is a medical
communications agency?
Sometimes called a medical education agency or MedComms agency, this type of company
traditionally supports the development of materials such as journal manuscripts for peer review,
learning resources, slide kits, and posters and presentations for conferences. However, the
boundaries are often blurred, and medical communications agencies may also touch on media
materials to support public relations activities, or more promotional materials at the commercial
end of the spectrum (i.e. brochures, leaflets and animations). However, whatever the service
offered, the objective is always the same to educate and inform audiences such as doctors,
patients, nurses and hospital managers about innovations and perspectives in healthcare.
Medical communications agencies also provide expert consultancy services to the pharmaceutical
industry, advising them on maximising the dissemination of the available clinical data and
devising campaigns to help the drug gain a slice of the limelight in a crowded marketplace. As far
as medical education is concerned, the role of the agency is to advise the company on how best to
educate and inform its customers (i.e. doctors, nurses, hospital managers, pharmacists, patients)
about the benefits and risks of the therapy using clinical and economic data. All materials must
comply with best practice guidelines, as issued by bodies such as the European Medical Writers
Association and the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals.

Which job is for me?


Account Manager
New media agency

You will manage a diverse range


of projects including on-line
disease awareness and patient
education websites, interactive
medical

Medical Editor

Healthcare Communications Agency


Proofing copy to the highest standard
for a full range of medical education and
communications materials including scientific
abstracts, papers, posters, oral presentations,
print items, and multimedia; professional
liaison with pharmaceutical industry key
contacts; managing and co-ordinating
materials through design.

Editorial Project Manager


Medical Education Agency

Are you an energetic, ambitious and


passionate individual with the desire
and potential to join one of the largest
healthcare communications agencies
in the UK?

Medical Writer

International MedComms
Suitable candidates will ideally have at least
18 months relevant writing experience with
a background in Medical Communications,
Clinical Research, Academic Research
or Publishing. A life science degree is
preferable. You will display excellent
organisational skills and acute attention to
detail.

Medical writing
As a medical writer it is your job to write high-quality, scientific copy for the wide range of publications
that a medical communications agency produces. It has been said that doctors leave university with
a formulary in their head, which gets used for the rest of their careers; it is often said that a medical
writers job is to ensure that new and improved drugs are added to that mental formulary. Although
a PhD is not essential for a medical writer, it will be advantageous. A doctoral degree and maybe
post-doc experience is particularly sought by agencies offering medical education, economics and
regulatory consultancy services, and less so by public relations and advertising agencies.
Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

Pharmaceutical companies require good strategies to help deliver effective campaigns: What
are you going to say? Who are you going to say it to? When are you going to say it? As a writer in
a medical communications agency, as well as writing, you will help develop the communication
strategy and publication plan that, for most pharmaceutical products, will run alongside the
clinical development process and support the commercialisation of the drug. This plan will help
ensure that the drug remains on the doctors radar for the duration of its lifecycle. It will be your
job to keep an eye on developments in any given scientific field, to recognise the big players
in the therapeutic area, to assess the
strategies used by your competitors by
monitoring their publication activities
and to identify opportunities to
communicate your clients information.

A medical writers job is to ensure that


new and improved drugs are added to a
doctors mental formulary

Attending conferences, and advisory


board and stand-alone meetings is a
large part of agency life, so if you like
travelling, this is a definite perk. Most
medical writers have visited a few of the major conference venues of Europe such as Prague,
Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Munich, Nice, Rome and Milan not to
mention some of the popular global venues such as Cancun, Toronto and Sydney. However,
although you may find yourself staying at a nice hotel, you wont necessarily get much sleep or see
much of the scenery.

Writing and
strategic development

Opinion leaders
The early data
are impressive

Medical writer
Pharmaceutical client
Can you get the data
published by August?

Primary papers
Reviews
Case studies
Conference materials
Newsletters
Monographs
Websites
Videos
Slide kits

Build relationships
with clients and
opinion leaders
Liaise with designers,
writers, editors,
account managers,
project managers

Medical editing
Many agencies combine the roles of writing and editing. In such agencies, a medical writer is
expected not only to produce original articles but also to be able to edit other writers work
checking it for scientific accuracy, and grammatical and editorial errors. However, some agencies
split these roles, employing both medical writers and editors. In such agencies, medical editors
tend to have a wider function, adding proofreading and print production skills to their editing role.
In terms of entering an agency as a trainee, agencies more commonly recruit writers than editors.
Trainee editors are often known as editorial assistants.

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

10

Account management
An account manager/executive is responsible for making sure that projects are delivered on
time and on budget. This role includes tasks such as preparing cost estimates, tracking projects,
liaising with internal team members and external suppliers, negotiating with clients and preparing
invoices. Usually, account managers progress to become account directors, a position that may
additionally involve looking for new business opportunities and promoting the agency to potential
clients (although some agencies employ dedicated sales staff). Account managers often have a
scientific background, but it is not essential.

Event management
Attending conferences, and advisory board and stand-alone meetings is a large part of agency life.
Conference managers are involved in all aspects of event management, including the production
of materials to promote the events, sourcing venues, programme development, and booking
flights and hotel rooms for attendees.
A scientific background is not essential for this role, and many people come to the job from a
background in hospitality or event management. Arranging the travel for 20 doctors, making sure
that they are all assembled at a specific time on a specific day, while making sure the congress
organisers supply coffee, and making sure the pens have been shipped on time, and ensuring
the writer has brought the slides, and briefing the audio-visual technician is somewhat of a
challenge. However, if you like travelling and you can cope with stress, then this may be the job
for you.

Why join a medical


communications agency?
When it comes to getting a broad experience, a medical communications agency is the place
to be. One day youll be writing a highly technical document and using all of your scientific
and research skills, and the next youll be using your creative powers to summarise the entire
document in one diagram. Also, in
a medical communications agency,
it is possible to find a job that suits
you: some people prefer the more
scientific, educational element of the
job and are happy to write nothing but
technical manuscripts that may focus
very specifically on narrow therapeutic
fields, whereas others enjoy the
challenge of a new therapy areas.
Other people prefer the more creative element of writing a range of materials, or prefer to be out
of the office talking to clients.

When it comes to getting a broad


experience, a medical communications
agency is the place to be

Career progression
Whatever position you choose as a starting point, once in the industry, there is scope to change
direction and to progress in various ways. The editorial route leads from medical writer to senior
writer; beyond this, job specifications tend to vary between agencies, offering the opportunity
to define and develop your career according to your strengths. Some writers choose to focus on
writing in roles such as principal writer and editorial team leader; others do less writing, focusing
more on managing and directing accounts.

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

So you want to be
a medical writer
Theres an equation to describe medical writers:

Likes science likes writing = medical writer

Common characteristics of a medical


writer in no particular order
Established scientist
A doctorate and post-doctoral experience will be advantageous when applying for a job as a
writer, although not essential. The basic entry requirement is a science degree.

Enjoys writing
It goes without saying that youll be the type of person who actually enjoyed writing your thesis
rather than seeing it as a necessary evil.

Pedantic
If the use of an apostrophe in a plural word makes your blood boil, or if you have ever told a
checkout girl that it is 10 items or fewer not 10 items or less then you are a true pedant (mention
this at your interview for extra points). This type of pedantry is often called attention to detail.

Good listener
Whereas in academia your opinion about Drosophila eyelids was valued, in medical
communications, although youll be expected to have a good knowledge of numerous therapeutic
areas, your opinion may not be asked for. You will be required to listen to the client and the
medical experts, and to communicate their opinions.

Excellent research skills


You will be expected to get to grips with numerous new clinical fields very quickly. Although its
always nice to get a project that is related to your research background, this doesnt happen very
often. For example, your existing knowledge may be in microbiology, but you may be expected to
become an expert in psychiatry. You will have to be able to research new areas, to take on board
a large amount of information quickly and to discuss the diseases with confidence in a variety
of situations. This may seem like a daunting task, but youll be surprised at how far the research
skills you developed during your doctorate can carry you.

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

11

12

Comfortable with statistics


You dont have to be an expert in statistics, but presenting data and making them easy for doctors
to understand will be part of your job. Medical statistics are a far cry from the odd t-test you had
to do for your doctorate, and whereas you wont be expected to number crunch, you will have to
produce evidence-based arguments based on clinical data. A basic understanding of the analyses
used in clinical trials will be essential, and you should find that you quickly get to grips with
various statistical concepts.

Thick skinned
It may seem like a step backwards going from being a respected scientist to being a trainee, and
learning to be a writer will be tough to begin with. You will hand over a piece of work on which
you have laboured, only to have it covered in red ink by a senior writer. Nevertheless, if you stick
with it, you will gradually develop a set of much sought-after skills. However, once you become an
experienced writer, this still doesnt mean that people will coo and cluck over your every word:
many a beautiful piece of work has been picked apart by a client, so you have to be able to take it
on the chin, and re-write it numerous times if necessary.

Getting your foot in the door


Preparing a good CV is essential when applying for any job, but when applying to be a writer,
editorial accuracy is extremely important. Unlike other sectors, your CV and covering letter will
be assessed by a panel of editors who will spot grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and clumsy
sentences, and these things will not be forgiven.

Additional experience
Writing experience outside of your academic work will help get you noticed and will show that
you have a genuine interest in communications. Getting published is easier than you think. Many
of the academic societies produce a publication for their members and the Editor will be happy
to consider your contribution. For example, the Physiological Society produces Physiology News,
a quarterly magazine, and the
Genetics Society produces
Genetics Society News, a bi-annual
newsletter. Or, if you are feeling
really ambitious, you could
enter the Wellcome Trust Science
Writers Competition in association
with the Guardian and the
Observer. Failing that, consider setting up your own blog a good way to get published with no
barrier to entry. If none of these options appeal, dont worry, you still have plenty of transferable
skills to use to sell yourself.

Writing experience outside of your academic


work will help get you noticed

A useful resource
How to Publish in Biomedicine, Second Edition by Jane Fraser, published by Radcliffe
Publishing in 2008. Available from www.radcliffe-oxford.com

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

Transferable skills
When leaving academia it is very easy to understate your skills and experience. Something
you may consider to be a mundane everyday task may represent a valuable skill to a potential
employer:
Skill

Example

Writing

Doctoral thesis, peer-reviewed manuscripts, slide


presentations, conference posters/abstracts, grant
applications

Presentation skills

Transfer talk, conference and other presentations,


journal club

Project management

Designing experiments and scheduling resources

Project leading and mentoring

Mentoring project students, teaching/demonstrating

Teamwork

Liaising with colleagues and collaborating with other


research groups

Opinion leader experience

Confidently discussing complex issues with leading


experts (e.g. in the pub on a Friday night!)

The writing test


As part of the interview process, you will be asked to do a writing test. Sometimes this will be
before you are invited to interview, and sometimes after your first interview. There is no industry
standard for the test. Examples of what you may be asked to write include:
an abstract for a poster or a manuscript
a mini review based on a small number of papers that have been supplied
a news article based on a conference report, manuscript or other background documents
a conference report based on a slide presentation and abstract book.
Whatever the task, it is important that you prepare properly. Even if your writing skills are
excellent, you are unlikely to be an expert in drafting clinical documents, and it is even less
likely that you will be aware of the ins and outs of writing copy. Dont worry though, because the
reviewers will not expect you to be an expert, but they will be looking for:
attention to detail avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
structure and flow provide a well-structured document with a logical flow of ideas
simplicity dont overcomplicate the project by doing extensive background research
about the disease: it is unlikely that a writing test will need this, and the test nearly always
involves reporting the information you have been given.
The agency will probably give you a guide as to how long the test should take. You may find that it
takes quite a bit longer, but this is fine and is often the case. If you go over the suggested time by
days, rather than hours, maybe you should consider other roles within the agency.
Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

13

14

Using your initiative can make all the difference when it comes to getting through the writing test.
For example, if you are asked to write a newsletter aimed at nurses, buy a copy of Nursing Times
to get an idea of pitch and tone. Also, there are many guides to medical writing available that are
definitely worth a read before attempting the test. How to Publish in Biomedicine, by Jane Fraser, gives
excellent advice and tips.
However, sometimes using too much initiative can be an applicants downfall. If you already know
someone who is a medical writer, it is fine to ask for advice, but do not ask them to do the test for
you. The people reviewing your test will know what standard to expect based on the experience
outlined on your CV. If you get offered the job based on dishonesty, you will be found out when
the work you produce on your own falls below the standard of your test.
As well as a writing test, you may be asked to complete an editing test, to assess your eye for
detail. If you use standard editing marks, this will be viewed favourably, although this is not what
is being tested so it is fine to mark-up the mistakes using whatever method suits you.

Editing test
The following editing test contains 20 editorial errors these include errors of spelling,
punctuation, grammar, consistency or meaning. For fun, how many can you spot?
(Answers on page 15.)
Over a median followup of 8.4 years, 64 patients (9.7%) experienced disease recurrence
(median time to recurrence 5.6 years). The 5, 10- and 15year recurrence-free probabilites
were 0.93, 0.87, and 0.81, respectivly. Using time-to-event estimates to adjust for
differences in follow-up between groups, radiotherapy was found to reduce tumour
recurrence in patients who received a sub-total resection (p<0.001) but not in those
undergoing gross-total resection of the tumor (p=0.63). Multivariate analysis identified
cavernous sinus invasion (hazard ration 3.6, 95% CI 1.5-6.4, p<0.001) and STR without
radiotherpy (HR 3.6, 95% CI 1.414, p=.01) predictive of an increase in disease recurrence.
Median follow-up for overall survival was 14.0 year. The 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-year estimates
for overall survival were 0.91, 0.81, 0.69 and 0.55, respectively. Mortality was higher
in patients who underwent radiotherapy with or without SRT than would have been
expected in the general USA population.

Earning potential
Starting salaries vary between agencies, and depend upon your experience. As a ballpark, trainee
writers can expect to start on 2530K. However, this is just a starting point, and the rate at which
your salary increases is entirely dependent on how you progress. It is often a source of frustration
to trainees with many years of post-doctoral experience that they have started on a similar salary
as someone straight out of their doctorate; however, dont be disheartened. With more experience
and knowledge, it is likely you will progress quickly. For example, some trainees can take a year
or two to gain experienced writer status, whereas others do it more quickly. Either way, your
career and salary progression are in your own hands. Salary bands arent set in stone, and earning
potential within the industry can be huge it is not unknown for a writer to go from being a trainee
to running their own department, or even their own company, within a few years.
Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

Further information
Useful books

Professional bodies

A-Z of Medicines Research


Stephen Bartlett, ABPI, 2007
Available free of charge from www.abpi.org.uk

Association of the British Pharmaceutical


Industry www.abpi.org.uk

Creating Effective Conference Abstracts and Posters in


Biomedicine
Jane Fraser, Louise Fuller and
Georgina Hutber. Radcliffe Publishing, 2009.
Available from www.radcliffehealth.com
ISBN-13 9781846193118

Healthcare Communications
Association www.hca-uk.org

Getting Research Published,


An A-Z of Publication Strategy Second Edition.
Elizabeth Wager, Radcliffe Publishing, 2010.
Available from www.radcliffehealth.com
ISBN-13 9781846194085
How to Publish in Biomedicine Second Edition
Jane Fraser, Radcliffe Publishing, 2008.
Available from www.radcliffehealth.com
ISBN-13 9781846192630

Specialist Jobs Boards


eMedCareers www.emedcareers.com
NextMedCommsJob
www.nextmedcommsjob.com
NextPharmaJob www.nextpharmajob.com
Pharmiweb www.pharmiweb.com

European Medical Writers


Association www.emwa.org

International Society for Medical Publication


Professionals www.ismpp.org

Pharmaceutical industry
news, views and
information
MedComms Networking
www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk
PharmaFile www.pharmafile.com
pharmaphorum www.pharmaphorum.com
PharmaTimes www.pharmatimes.com
Pharmaceutical Executive
www.pharmexeceurope.com
PMLiVE www.pmlive.com
The Publication Plan
www.thepublicationplan.com

or without SRT STR than would have been expected in the general USA population.
and 0.55, respectively. Mortality was higher in patients who underwent radiotherapy with
14.0 years. The 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-year estimates for overall survival were 0.91, 0.81, 0.69
predictive of an increase in disease recurrence. Median follow-up for overall survival was
[CI] 1.56.4, p<0.001) and STR without radiotherapy (HR 3.6, 95% CI 1.414, p=0.01) as
identified cavernous sinus invasion (hazard ration [HR] 3.6, 95% confidence interval
in those undergoing gross-total resection of the tumour (p=0.63). Multivariate analysis
tumour recurrence in patients who received a sub-total resection (STR) (p<0.001) but not
adjust for differences in follow-up between groups, radiotherapy was found to reduce
probabilities were 0.93, 0.87,_ and 0.81, respectively. Using time-to-event estimates to
(median time to recurrence 5.6 years). The 5-, 10- and 15-year recurrence-free
Over a median follow-up of 8.4 years, 64 patients (9.7%) experienced disease recurrence

Answers
Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

15

People in the job in their own words

16

Steven Barberini
Medical Writer,
Watermeadow Medical
In last years edition of the aptly named From academic to medical
writer guidebook, I provided a brief overview of my own journey
from PhD graduate to medical writer. After the completion of my
PhD, I opted not to continue a postgraduate career in academia,
notwithstanding several interesting offers, due to the financially
unstable nature inherent in this career path. Instead, I took on
the role of an appraisal scientist/medical writer for the Welsh
Medicines Partnership for 1 year, and then relocated to start as
an associate medical writer at Watermeadow Medical in Oxfordshire. I settled in relatively quickly,
blinked 2 years later, Ive been promoted to medical writer and I continue to gain the necessary
experience to grow and succeed in the MedComms industry.
During my first 2 years at Watermeadow Medical I have been trusted with a diverse array of
projects. To name a few, the development of original articles and scientific reviews relating to
novel drug studies and important medical issues, putting together content and providing onsite support for local and global conferences, brainstorming and developing modern interactive
solutions to deliver key marketing messages, creating apps and games through tablet technology
to spice-up traditional meeting formats, and managing the delivery of 3D visuals to help patients
understand how to use a given medication. Regardless of the type of project, as the owner, I
always feel a great responsibility towards both client and employer to ensure the project is
managed correctly and always delivered to the highest
quality. The successful delivery of a project relies on
several factors, but one that stands out for me is good
communication with the client. At first, the prospect of
directly dealing with clients was rather daunting, but
the more I did it, the easier it became, and now friendly
relationships have been forged and this really makes
the job a lot more enjoyable!

I do not regret my decision


to change lanes and give this
relatively new industry a go

Plenty of guidance was provided when I first started at Watermeadow Medical as I struggled
to grasp the lingo, and although Im still learning, I work a lot more independently now, often
juggling 1020 projects simultaneously. Yet, help is always just a stones throw away! Im part of a
great team of people who all have an inspiring sense of camaraderie; I find this very comforting,
particularly when faced with an ever-increasing workload.
Importantly, my life so far as a medical writer has not interfered with my personal life. I often
measure the success of a days work by the amount of work I have to take home or lunch breaks I
have to miss; thankfully, most days have been pretty successful! Ive also been lucky enough to
travel to some exotic destinations, such as Qatar and Colombia, while doing what I get paid to do.
Furthermore, Watermeadow Medical takes a keen interest in the personal development of their
employees, and Ive maximised this interest in an attempt to improve my golfing skills (still awful
though). Watermeadow Medical received the Investors in People accreditation this year, and I
truly believe such an accolade was deserved given the amount they care, not just for me, but for
all their employees.
Im very proud of my achievements thus far in the MedComms industry, and although, at times, I
miss academia I do not regret my decision to change lanes and give this relatively new industry a
go. I look forward to blinking again, and seeing where I am in another 25 years time!

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

Senior Medical Writer,


Darwin Healthcare Communications
I originally chose to study biological sciences at university
because I thought that all aspects of biology were interesting,
although this notion was severely shaken when I encountered the
kingdom of plants. Having learnt all about their physiology,
anatomy, morphology, development and classification, I was
ready to accept that perhaps not all aspects of biology are
equally interesting. Nonetheless, I completed my studies and in
search of excitement, went kayaking and camping in the
Canadian wilderness. I didnt see any bears or wolves, but at night the sound of their calls
silenced the jokes and chatter to hesitant whispers.
Returning to England, I enrolled in an MSc course in applied genetics, which in turn led to an offer
to do a PhD in population genetics. I soon found myself at Oxford University investigating the
genetic basis of osteoarthritis. The time flew by as these were intoxicating times. We were in a race
to be the first group to find the gene(s) predisposing to osteoarthritis. One day, in the middle of a
5-year fellowship, I realised I had been involved in this work for 15 years. During that time,
I had become increasingly specialised and had forgotten my basic biology. For example, I went to
a seminar on cell signalling and was baffled after the second slide because my knowledge base
had become so narrow. That wasnt what I wanted, and something had to change.
I wanted to do something that would
allow me to use my science, but would
offer more variety. Something interesting,
exciting and different. Something with a
career structure would also be nice, as
I was locked into a cycle of getting the
next paper published in order to achieve
success with the next grant application.
Out of curiosity, I went to a workshop on
medical communications, and became
convinced that its what I should have
done all along. Luckily it wasnt too late to
change careers; in fact, the skills acquired
during my academic years are extremely useful to life as a medical writer. You need to be curious,
enthusiastic and organised, with good attention to detail. You also need to think on your feet and
be flexible, to deal with clients and their ever-surprising requests.

Transition from the academic to


the commercial environment has
been a challenge, but one that has
reinvigorated the love of science that
started my journey all those years ago

I have enjoyed the work immensely since I started at Darwin Healthcare Communications in
October 2011. Life as a medical writer is full of variety, both in therapeutic areas and in the kinds
of materials produced, from primary manuscripts and meetings abstracts to marketing aids and
slides for advisory boards. From the start I was assigned a mentor who continues to provide
support and encouragement along with helpful suggestions and guidance. I was placed within
a team based around an individual client. This provides a working environment that facilitates
collective responsibility on meeting objectives. It also meant that I met the clients from the
beginning. Something I appreciated as it helps ensure a good working relationship. The transition
from the academic to the commercial environment has been a challenge, but one that has
reinvigorated the love of science that started my journey all those years ago.

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

17

People in the job in their own words

Kay Chapman

People in the job in their own words

18

Shelley Davies
Senior Medical Writer,
CircleScience adivision of the
KnowledgePoint360 Group
After my post-doc I realised the lab really isnt for me! What I
did take away from the bench, however, was that I relished
unravelling data into a scientific argument around how molecular
changes can evolve into diseases/symptoms, and how targeted
pharmaceuticals can intervene to reverse, or even prevent, these
changes. So, what next? Medical writing obviously!
After finding the career medical writer on-line I started to network and got some very sound
advice from a lady working in clinical research you need to know what youll be dealing with on
a day-to-day basis! What she meant was clinical trial protocols and CSRs; as these were alien to
me after years of monitoring cells, I embarked on a voluntary internship at her clinical research
organisation to learn more about how these massive documents contained all the data to create
the medical communications for one drug, in anticipation of its launch as a new therapy.
This set me in good stead to get my first medical writer role with an agency in the UK
KnowledgePoint360 (ACUMED; Tytherington, Cheshire). To get through the interview process
I really drew on my experience to date. If I could give a candidate medical writer any advice,
it would be to make sure that you really share what you have done with your potential future
employers. Never assume that an
agency will already know that you are
good at communicating scientific data
just because you are a scientist: show
it! Think about how your experience
translates to the role of a medical
writer and if youre not sure what
the role really entails, be sure to get
networking and asking questions!

Never assume that an agency will


already know that you are good at
communicating scientific data just
because you are a scientist: show it!

My role with KnowledgePoint360 has evolved greatly over the years I really feel I have been
given the opportunity to develop a lot of business acumen and knowledge around publication
planning and best practices. There is also a real buzz around digital communications and doing
things differently, which is inspiring. The best bit is that my company really values the spirit of
teamwork, whether its day-to-day work, congress support in a foreign land or raising money for
charity.
I did take a break from MedComms to live life as a University Lecturer for a few years in the
Midlands, where I am originally from. I was really happy that on re-evaluating this move
KnowledgePoint360 offered me a new position within their CircleScience division. This time my
circumstances were different as a result of my move to the Midlands I had picked up a lovely
husband and a not so lovely mortgage, therefore relocation back to Cheshire was not an option.
The ability of KnowledgePoint360 to provide remote IT facilities for home working meant that I
could start work again as a writer from home without causing too much strife to family life! Despite
working from home I still feel connected to my colleagues we catch up regularly via video
conferencing, and monthly visits to the Cheshire or London offices are always a nice change!

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

Senior Medical Writer,


McCann Complete Medical
According to my peers at the time, I was one of those annoying
PhD students whose experiments always worked (apparently
this isnt common?), I had an excellent supervisor (still friends
today) and I was between two departments so everyone always
assumed I was in the other building (handy when it came to the
need for a long lie in and a late start). So, all hunky-dory. It came
as a bit of a surprise to me when I started to write my thesis, I
was really enjoying it! This was the first hint.
Then there was my viva. Three hours and 45 minutes: 3 hours of chat, 5 minutes of Youve passed,
well done, congrats and 40 minutes of me asking the examiners what they thought of my creative
input and writing style (the topic was lipid oxidation and atherosclerosis; I somehow had based
the thesis on the theme of evolution). This was the second hint.
I kind of knew by this point that the pen-to-paper part was of much more interest to me than the
pipette-to-platelet aggregometer part. However, everyone told me to give a post-doc a try (less
pressure, more responsibility, more ownership, more freedom), and I did. The post-doc position
was enjoyable. However, 14-hour days in a dark room waiting for a laser to scan a 280-m z-stack
over and over took its toll and gave me time to think.
As it turns out, while I enjoyed talking about positive-ionisation electrospray mass spectrometry
and multiphoton laser-scanning microscopy, I cared more for the compound adjectives in there
than the compounds being oxidised or being labelled fluorescent green (respectively). Friends
of mine in the medical communications business informed me of an opening for an associate
medical writer, and I went for it.

considering the exciting


prospect of actually enjoying my
work, I knew I never again wanted
to see another pipette

Wow. Being in academia for 9 years doesnt allow


you too many interviews, but the one with CMC
was by far the best. For the pre-interview writing
test, Igot to learn all about a new therapy area
(without spending 6 weeks reading about it
and having to write a literature review for my
supervisor), and Iwas able to use PubMed for
something new for the first time in a decade.
And then the interview itself. I must have smiled for 3 hours afterwards. I just couldnt believe that
someone actually tested me as part of an interview and to assess me for a job that I would be
paid to do on writing an abstract and finding dodgy punctuation. Someone actually cared about
the attention to detail. Wonderful. If only I had had my external viva examiners number.

So the interview part was okay. The (really!) tough part was making the decision to leave academia and
move to medical communications. However, after considering the revelation of the interview and the
exciting prospect of actually enjoying my work, I knew I never again wanted to see another pipette.
I started as an associate medical writer with CMC, an agency within McCann Complete Medical, in
2009. I quickly took to the nature of the business like a duck to water, and thoroughly enjoyed the new
challenges (having clients, speaking with key opinion leaders, having to get to grips with new therapy
areas, being part of an account). I was promoted to medical writer in 2010 and to senior medical
writer in 2012, with new responsibilities, challenges and expectations at each stage. Im now doing a
secondment in the US, in CMCs New Jersey office. And, Im working on completely different therapy
areas, meeting brand new clients to the business and delivering new types of communications.
Exciting times.
Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

19

People in the job in their own words

Gary Dever

People in the job in their own words

20

Lisa Henry
Medical Writer,
Choice Healthcare Solutions
Growing up, I was always fascinated by science and medicine so
studying for a BSc at the National University of Ireland, Galway,
was the perfect choice for me. During my degree I studied
physiology, pharmacology and microbiology, with a focus on
physiology in my final year.
While researching what I would like to do after my degree,
I stumbled upon medical writing. Along with my interest in
science, I enjoy writing and have good attention to detail, so medical writing seemed like a perfect
fit for me. After doing some initial research, I became disheartened as many medical writing jobs
required the applicant to have a PhD. At this point, I wasnt quite sure if a PhD was right for me,
so I decided to apply for an MSc in molecular neuroscience at the University of Bristol. Of all the
areas in science I had studied during my degree, neuroscience always interested me the most,
and I felt this course would allow me to discover if a career in research was what I wanted. The
course was mostly lecture-based, with the summer spent carrying out a research project. After
killing almost every batch of cells I tried to culture, I knew for certain that the lab was not for me!
I wanted something more varied, where I could focus on the science, but not spend the rest of my
life with a pipette in my hand!
My thoughts reverted to medical writing. Knowing that this was the industry I really wanted
to work in, I started to research the field in more depth, and to my delight found that some
companies offer entry-level writing positions which do not require applicants to have a PhD. I
applied for a position as associate medical writer with Choice Healthcare Solutions and, after
completing a comprehensive selection process, I was offered the job! As part of this process, I was
asked to complete a writing test, develop
a short slide deck and discuss the slides
during an interview. I was offered the
position when I was in the middle of my
research project, and was able to start
once I completed my MSc 3 months later,
and Ive been here ever since!

There is a clear path for career


progression within medical
communications

A year and a half on, Ive been promoted


to medical writer and am really enjoying
my time at Choice. Ive been able to use my scientific expertise and apply it to a wide range of
projects, including abstracts, posters, slides decks, workshops and advisory board reports, and
have even developed a product monograph. There is a clear path for career progression within
medical communications. With the right training and guidance, and determination to succeed,
not having a PhD shouldnt hold you back. If you love science, but cant see yourself in the lab,
a career in medical communications may be worth considering. The hours can sometimes be
long and the work can be challenging but seeing a piece that you have written being used by the
medical community makes it all worthwhile.

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

Senior Editorial Manager,


Fishawack Communications
I was an unutterable square at school. Secondary school that is
at primary school I was delightful, happily skipping for hours on
end and ordering and re-ordering my excellent rubber collection;
there was no sign at all of the unfortunate quadrilateral that
was later to emerge. I loved learning. I loved everything
English, languages, sciences, maths and the humanities. This
(considerably less gifted) love child of Newton and Austen
was born for GCSEs. But what was to become of me? Choosing
A-levels and then a degree course was tough as I vacillated dramatically between wanting to
concentrate on the arts and the sciences. So I did what any sensible vacillator would do I did a
mishmash of A-levels and went on to study archaeology and anthropology. Plenty of science in
archaeology (no, really), none in social anthropology (yay!) and lots in biological anthropology
(clues in the name). I then went on to do an MPhil at Cambridge in biological anthropology (my
favourite). So, like most medical writers, I was a square, but unlike most writers I neither have a
strong science background nor a PhD.
Still pursing my dream of not wanting to specialise, I fell into scientific publishing in London. It
was a solid training ground: I honed my eye for detail and mastered the skill of getting to grips
with totally unfamiliar subjects
quickly. However, after a few years,
I sought a new challenge, this
time in medical communications
(somehow, editing the Lichenologist
didnt feel like the glamorous
publishing job of my dreams).
Iwould never have heard of the
industry unless a friend (with a
proper science background) had
made the leap. He took me on, forgetting that I was cut from a different cloth. From solid editing,
I took a hybrid editing/writer job and then changed agencies to work at Medicus International as a
medical writer.

If you like writing and can pick up


new areas quickly, medical writing
could be for you

Forced out of London by the cost of housing, we fell upon value-for-money Oxford (so nave!) and
I secured a senior writer job at Fishawack. After more than 7 years, Im still here. I am now involved
in line management and resourcing but still enjoy being able to write a wide variety of materials
for a range of media. It continues to be a thrill to interact with world-renowned experts, and its
also an eye-opening experience at times. It is humbling to take their gift their ideas and wrap it
up in prose that is accessible. At times I am even able to see how what we do makes a difference.
My message is that it doesnt matter what youve studied at university or what youve studied
since, if you like writing and can pick up new areas quickly, medical writing could be for you. Throw
your mass spectrometer in the air and apply today!

Moon A. From academic to medical writer. March 2014. www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout

21

People in the job in their own words

Amy Jackson

I work in MedComms...
People in the job in their own words

22

I work in MedComms, on tasks so varied that within


the 6 months to date, no two have been the same...
Stuart Avery attended a careers event in 2013 and is now
working as a medical writer at Fishawack Communications.
I work in MedComms because when reflecting on the aspects
I enjoyed most about my PhD, I realised it was the challenge
of preparing materials for sharing my scientific knowledge in a
meticulous, clear and accessible manner that I found the most
rewarding and set me apart from many of my academic colleagues.
Julia Cope attended a careers event in 2014 and is now working
as an associate medical writer at Envision Pharma Group.
I work in MedComms as a medical writer at GCC,
KnowledgePoint360 Group in Macclesfield. I joined GCC shortly
after attending a MedComms Networking event in July 2011 at the
Institute of Education in London and have remained at the company
since then, having been promoted from AMW in April 2013.
Ian Grieve attended a careers event in 2011 and is
now working as a medical writer in Gardiner-Caldwell
Communications, KnowledgePoint360 Group.
I work in MedComms, which means my hobby of editing and writing
articles (previously for student science magazines) is now my job!
Tamzin Gristwood attended two careers events in 2013 and is
now working as a medical writer at Oxford PharmaGenesis Ltd.
I work in MedComms because it challenges me to learn
new things about science and myself, every day.
Gillian Groeger attended a careers event in 2013 and is now
working as a medical writer at Fishawack Communications.
I work in MedComms and no two days are the same I love
the wide range of projects and diverse therapeutic areas we
work across at congresses and meetings around the world.
Jessica Harrold attended a careers event in 2012 and
is now working as a medical writer at 7.4 Limited.
I work in MedComms because I love science, but lost my mojo
for research during my postdoc. Working in MedComms means
that I can still be involved in interesting scientific research.
Liz Hartfield attended two careers events in 2013 and is now
working as a medical writer for Oxford PharmaGenesis Ltd.

I work in MedComms because Im a writer


trapped in the body of a scientist.
Tania Kotsokechagia attended a careers event in 2008 then
worked for two MedComms agencies and is now a freelance writer.
I work in MedComms and Im confused. I thought it was
all about writing articles. Its not. The creative side of me has
exploded. Developing iPad applications and creating content
for global advisory board meetings has been fun, challenging
and rewarding. MedComms is far better than I expected.
Carl Owen attended a careers event in 2013 and is now working
as a trainee medical writer with Porterhouse Medical.
I work in MedComms as a medical writer after spending 22
years in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. The change
in pace has been a bit of a shock, but the variety of work and
challenging nature of the work has certainly kept me on my toes.
Jim Purvis attended a careers event in 2013 and is now
working as a medical writer at Oxford PharmaGenesis Ltd.
I work in MedComms where no one day is ever the same!
It is an interesting and challenging career that allows you to
work at the forefront of science, in a variety of therapy areas,
in a team environment. The MedComms career days are
invaluable for providing the opportunity to meet MedComms
professionals and to learn more about the industry.
Samantha Raby attended a careers event in 2013 and is now
working as an associate medical writer in GardinerCaldwell
Communications, KnowledgePoint360 Group.
I work in MedComms after researching potential non-laboratorybased career options and discovering that medical communications
is a platform for using my scientific knowledge in a writing capacity.
Rachel Rankin attended a careers event in 2013 and is now
working as a medical writer at Darwin Healthcare Communications.
I work in MedComms and with each day comes a new
challenge. Intellectually stimulating, creatively demanding
and time pressured, but with a real sense of achievement
through hard work and team effort. I love it!
Rebecca Taylor attended a careers event in 2012 and is now
working as a medical writer at Fishawack Communications.
I work in MedComms, doing the things that I enjoyed most during
my PhD, such as learning and writing about new therapy areas.
Carolyn Tubby attended two careers events in 2013 and is
now working as a trainee medical writer at Caudex Medical.

For details of careers events, plus much more, visit our Starting Out page at:
www.medcommsnetworking.co.uk/startingout
I work in MedComms following an internship which gave me a great introduction to agency life, with the opportunity to work on projects
as diverse as an animation, a clinical trials database app and a publication plan, and led to a permanent role with the company.
Cleo Hall used the MedComms Networking Starting Out page and is now working as a medical writer at Darwin Healthcare Communications.

Directory MedComms

23

Looking for paid work experience in


medical communications/medical writing?
Aspire Scientific offer paid work experience to talented and suitably qualified
UK-based individuals who have or are working towards a PhD.
If you would like to find out more, then please email Jane Woodrow
(jane.woodrow@aspire-scientific.com), with a copy of your CV and, to showcase
your writing skills, a 250-word summary of your current research focus.
Quote from a former member of our team, now working for a medical communications agency:
"Working with Aspire alongside my academic role has been a fantastic experience. I have been
involved in a range of oncology-based medical writing projects, which has given me a unique
insight into the industry. I thoroughly enjoyed completing each assignment and really benefitted
from the constructive feedback I received from Aspire. I am now leaving academia having been
offered a position with a MedComms agency. My time with Aspire not only helped to confirm my
career choice of medical writer, but I believe really helped with my interviews, allowing me to
demonstrate a genuine interest in MedComms and my familiarity with the industry.
www.Aspire-Scientific.com

Tel: 01625 575101

Want to have
your cake and eat it?

Directory MedComms

24

TOGETHER WE CAN
IMAGINE

ENGAGE

ARTICULATE

EDUCATE

We are a global agency providing comprehensive and innovative


medical communication services to the healthcare industry.
With a vibrant team environment, intensive on-the-job coaching
and a programme of targeted training, Adelphi provides the right
environment for professionals who want to make a difference.
Contact email: martina.carolan@adelphigroup.com
www.adelphicommunications.com

Adelphi
Communications Ltd
Adelphi Mill
Bollington
Macclesfield
Cheshire
SK10 5JB

Finding the right place to build your


career is like finding your perfect house,
its about discovering the place where
you feel at home. At the home of
AXON Communications, we love baking
and eating cake. We also love healthcare
communications, whether thats medical
communications, public relations or
clinical trial support.
If that sounds like your perfect
recipe for a dream home, give Krista
a call on +44 (0)20 3595 2444

It takes talented people to be Darwin


strategists, planners, medical writers,
editors, client service managers.
Global Excellence in Medical Communications
Choice Healthcare Solutions is an award-winning global
medical communications agency. We combine scientific
understanding, market knowledge and commercial insight
to get straight to the core of every challenge and deliver
focused communications solutions. We employ bright,
talented and enthusiastic individuals who wish to pursue
an exciting career in medical communications.
Contact us now to kickstart your career
e

w choicehs.com
julie.townend@choicehs.com
t +44 (0)1462 471811

We deliver medical education thats


informed and informative, coherent
and persuasive.
We oer challenging roles, variety of
work, stimulating company, career
progression, personal growth and
industry recognition.

health spoken here

oxford T +44 (0) 1865 822555 london T +44 (0) 20 3037 3630
Chicago London Dubai Hong Kong
Choice Healthcare Solutions is part of

www.darwinhc.com
contact: beverley.taylor@darwinhc.com

Think all medical communications


agencies are the same? Think again.
The Envision Pharma Group is unique. We not only have an enviable heritage of industry-leading innovation in global medical
communications, but in 2013 we became independent again. With a vision for continued growth, we are already realising our
goals, which include an expanded service offering to our clients. This is an exciting time for our organisation, and a great time
to join our team.
From our offices in the UK, US and the Asia Pacific region, we support an international portfolio of pharmaceutical
and biotechnology company clients, providing a comprehensive blend of service offerings spanning:
Strategic and tactical publication planning and implementation Market access
Medical communications
Social and web media
Strategic communications consultancy
Complementary technology platforms, including DatavisionTM
We are seeking ambitious and talented medical writers to be part of our continued success.
So, whats it like to work at the Envision Pharma Group? Well, it isnt all about our clients we are committed to developing
and supporting our team members, enabling them to excel in their roles, and to maintaining a culture that recognises and
rewards achievements. We offer excellent benefits and a friendly, supportive and dynamic work environment.
To find out more visit www.envisionpharmagroup.com

Envision your future with us


U nite d Kingdom

Unite d Sta te s of America

Aust ralia

Japan

China

Fueling
great conversations
in health

Excerpta Medica is a medical communications agency,


serving the global pharmaceutical industry with
medical strategy consultancy and innovative medical
communicationsprograms. Our work is based on combining
scientific insights with best practices in communications to
develop programs that are engaging andimpactful.
Do you have something great to bring to our conversations?
email: h.bakker@excerptamedica.com
web: www.excerptamedica.com

Facilitate has been providing highquality medical education services to


the pharmaceutical industry since 2002.
We are always on the lookout for highquality staff, so if you are considering a
career as a medical writer, please get
in touch with our Editorial Manager.
Based in the centre of Brighton, our offices
are a short walk from the station. We offer
interesting and varied work, an informal
working environment, and one of the best
benefits packages in the business.
Contact: Aree Cheshire
Email: aree@facilitate-uk.com
Facilitate Ltd
2830 Robert Street, Brighton, BN1 4AH
Web: www.facilitate-uk.com

Directory MedComms

25

Directory MedComms

26

group of companies
The Fishawack Group is an independent
global organisation of medical
communications agencies providing
fresh thinking and a bespoke service.
We value individuality and openness, and
offer comprehensive training and career
progression across a diversity of roles.
According to American Indian folklore,
those who encounter the Fishawack River
are blessed with good fortune. If this could
be your destiny, then please contact:

At Havas Life Medicom youll work with


inspiring people, in our fab offices
with walltowall windows overlooking
the Thames, where creativity and
scientific prowess blossom.
In the Medicom family, well support
you to develop your career.
Use your love of science on all sorts
of accounts and LOVE your job.

Email: recruitment@fishawack.com
Tel: 01235 462 820 Twitter: @fishawack
Web: www.fishawack.com

Email: Srodrigues@havaslifemedicom.com
Web: www.havaslifemedicom.com

Knutsford Oxford Basel Zofingen Pennsylvania

bringing
life to medicine through improved
understanding of disease and products
and supporting our clients with clarity of
thought and great communications.

If you are interested in being part


of an expanding team to develop
successful and innovative medical
communication programmes, contact
Carolyn Welsh for more information about
current and future opportunities.

is a truly
global team with a reputation built
on scientific expertise, strategic
insight and professional integrity.
We recognise that our success is
driven by the talented individuals
that work within our organisation.
Are you interested in being
part of the medical communications
partner of choice?

Email: email@highfieldcommunication.com

Contact:

Web: www.highfieldcommunication.com

Email: Lilianne.Peguinho@springer.com
Web: www.insciencecommunications.com

Insight MW are experts in clinical and


regulatory writing. Our highly motivated
and talented team provides an unparalleled
service to the pharmaceutical industry.
Located in Oxford, we offer exciting career
opportunities for individuals looking to
move into medical writing, with extensive
in-house and external training.
For further information visit:
Web: www.insightmw.com
or contact
Email: Margarethe.Hollow@insightmw.com

In medical communications, education, digital


services, and consultancy, KnowledgePoint360 is a
global leader and innovator.
We add value by providing authoritative information
and actionable insights to healthcare practitioners
and to our pharma and biotech clients.
That added value is derived largely from the
exceptional skills and experience of more than
700 professionals.
This is the place to grow your career with an
industry-leading training Academy and a supportive
mentoring programme.
Contact:
Jane Barton, HR Advisor
01625 664272
Email: jane.barton@kp360group.com
Web: www.knowledgepoint360.com

LOVE SCIENCE?

COMMUNICATE IT!

McCann Complete Medical works in partnership with


the pharmaceutical industry, providing a wide range of
innovative and class-leading services. We work on some of
the most exciting healthcare products globally and provide a
positive and challenging working environment for our staff.
Our comprehensive training will give you the best possible start
to your career. With great opportunities and competitive salaries
across our network, we could be the company you are looking for.

McCann Complete Medical is a group of expert agencies delivering customer insight and evidence generation, regulatory support, strategy development, medical communications and multi-channel
stakeholder engagement. We provide global and national hubs in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific to deliver insightful, evidence-driven strategies and communications for our clients.

Macclesfield: T +44 1625 624000 Oxford: T +44 1865 254300 info@complete-grp.com www.complete-grp.com

Directory MedComms

27

Directory MedComms

28

Nucleus Global is a group of international healthcare


communications companies. We have approximately
500 employees around the globe, and have a

At Nucleus Global you will:

Explore opportunities for international


travel and secondment
Experience a challenging and rewarding career

Work at the cutting edge of medical science


Develop and expand your
expertise

www.nucleus-global.com
Alternatively, please send a copy of your current CV and covering letter to cheryl.murton@nucleuscentral.com

www.meditechmedia.com

BASEL

LONDON

www.healthinteractions.com

MANCHESTER

www.intmedpress.com

OXFORD

www.articulatescience.com

ATLANTA

HAMILTON

www.clinicalthinking.com

www.scientificpathways.com

SANTFRANCISCO

SHANGHAI

www.scientificpathways.com

www.medicalexpressions.com

SINGAPORE

SYDNEY

THE PERFECT START

Powerful thinking, dedicated to clients success


Built on a solid foundation of scientific excellence,
high editorial standards and a firm belief in ethical
practices, Oxford PharmaGenesis has grown to
be one of the most respected independent global
medical communications consultancies in the
world, with offices in Oxford, London, Basel
and Philadelphia.
We recruit and retain exceptional people by giving
them the space and support to do a great job. We
value high-calibre life scientists who are passionate
about communicating and who want to be part of a
creative and stimulating team.
Please call Annie Beagent on 01865 390144
or e-mail annie.beagent@pharmagenesis.com
for further information.

PAREXELs Medical Communications


group (MedCom) is thriving with
career opportunities for life
sciences postgraduates with
a talent for medical writing
Our industry-leading Fellowship
Programme provides structured
on-boarding and professional
skills development. So if you are
considering a med comms career,
MedCom could offer you just the
right opportunities and mentoring.
Diane Sherriff
Recruitment Specialist
E-mail: diane.sherriff@PAREXEL.com
Or call: 01895 614595
www.PAREXEL.com

Web: www.pharmagenesis.com

W0468 PAREXEL Careers Guide S04.indd 1

28/02/2014 14:17

Porterhouse Medical is a medical communications agency


based in Reading, working with UK, European and global
clients.
Were looking for talented and creative people to add flair
and imagination to our brilliant editorial and account
management teams.
If youre looking for a job thats fun, demanding and
exciting, look no further.

Prism Ideas is an independent


company providing drug development
consultancy and medical affairs
support to the pharmaceutical
industry. Our account management
and medical writing teams offer a full
range of medical communications
services to our global client base.
If you would like to know
more about life in medical
communications, please contact:
E-mail: carol.hills@prismideas.com
Tel: 01270 621724
Web: www.prismideas.com

careers@porterhouse.biz | www.porterhouse.biz

For

Virgo Health Education is a division of the


award-winning Virgo Health, a leading
global healthcare communications agency.
With offices in Richmond, Central London,
New York and Singapore, Virgo is leading
the way in addressing the changing
dynamic from traditional didactic education
towards facilitating creative learning.
We are always on the lookout for bright,
creative, and enthusiastic team players, so
if you are interested in joining our medical
education division please get in touch.
Email: recruit@virgohealth.com

W on pr es
ti gi
C om m u ni qu ou s
M ed
C om m s C
on su lt an cy
of th e Ye
ar
tw ic e in th aw ar d
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r
oc ca si on

A ga in s t
G U LP !
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im m in g.
A ge d 9.

I I P ac cr
ed it
(I nv es to rs ed
Li ke I ha
I n P eo pl e)
ve nt ha d
en ou gh of
O pp or tu ni
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ti es
fo r in te rn
M r T id dl es
at io na l
w ou ld
tr av el . P lu
m is s M u m
s
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ha ve of fi ce th ey
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s la rg es t
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he al th ca re
co m m s
or ga ni sa ti
on s.

Tel: 020 89392450


Thinking about becoming a junior medical writer?
Its hard to find reasons not to join us!
www.watermeadowmedical.com/careers

an ashfield company , part of udg healthcare plc

Directory MedComms

Sometimes,
it makes
sense to start
at the top.

29

Directory recruitment

30

Entry-level Consultancy
and Recruitment
I offer a specialist consultancy for anyone looking for
trainee medical writing, editing or account management
roles in the medical communications industry.
This is a new service specifically set up to
support entry-level candidates.
Services include:
Overview of medical communications companies
Assistance with CV preparation
In-depth assessment of a practice writing test
Support with job applications
Interview preparation
For a preliminary discussion, further information about
consultancy and recruitment services, or a noobligation
quote, please email or give me a call.
Karen Kent PhD
Tel: 01474 853 987 / 0778 626 1259
Email: kk.windhorse@gmail.com
Web: www.windhorseservices.co.uk

EMWA offers training in all aspects of medical


writing and related topics, including:
Manuscript writing/publications
Language and writing skills
Drug development
Statistics
Regulatory writing
Each half-day training workshop has a pre-workshop exercise
and an assessed post-workshop assignment. By successfully
completing workshops you build up credits in your personal training
record; 8 credits earns you a respected EMWA Certificate.
Workshops are run at EMWA conferences in May
and November. Come along and learn new skills or
update old ones and make new contacts too!
Join EMWA and receive the journal Medical Writing each
quarter its a great way to learn more about the profession.
www.emwa.org

Training and supporting medical writers in Europe

31

Directory training

Professional development
for medical writers

darwins theory
of collaboration

No 2

come on
over

We wont lie to you: agency life is busy. Doing an amazing job


to a crazy deadline is never going to be easy. What makes the
difference? Looking out for each other.
At Darwin, we know that having the right people around our
hearth is the most important factor in our success. But if you
have the talent and the motivation, we promise you the
warmest of welcomes. Lets talk.

oxford Sterling House Oxford Road Kingston Bagpuize Oxon OX13 5AP UK T +44 (0) 1865 822555
london Lynton House 712 Tavistock Square London WC1H 9LT UK T +44 (0) 20 3037 3630

beverley.taylor@darwinhc.com www.darwinhc.com

health spoken here