A career within Med Comms is very rewarding but isn’t for the faint-hearted. Hard work and time pressures are all a part of the job and you must be an excellent timekeeper, have great attention to detail and be able to work quickly and effectively.
Med Comms agencies generally have both an editorial and commercial team. The traditional level of positions that exist within each of these teams are:
Medical Writers will spend much of their day writing, proof reading and editing. A large part of a Medical Writer’s workload will also involve reference marketing every statement in a document with the source from which it has been taken.
Some of the typical projects that a Medical Writer may work on will include manuscripts and review articles, educational slide sets, slide presentations for congress symposia, abstract books, posters, promotional materials, information for company sales reps and website copy.
Account teams are responsible for the delivery of a client account within the agreed time frame and client budget. They will work closely with internal teams to ensure that projects run smoothly and efficiently in the interests of their clients. They’ll develop relationships with their clients by attending face-to-face meetings in order to better understand the objectives and needs to deliver maximum value to the client from both a strategic and tactical perspective.
It will also give you the opportunity to work closely with eminent healthcare professionals, patient groups, policy makers and journalists at the forefront of medical advances. It’s an exciting and fast-moving profession which requires focus, determination and above all the ability to project manage, especially when working under pressure.
The industry provides a mix of business, science and creativity and therefore is an attractive option for someone looking for variety in their work. To be successful in Med Comms, you need to be proactive, professional and a team player. That majority of people who work within this industry will be educated to a minimum of degree level - and generally within a Life Science – and most people who work within the editorial teams will hold a PhD.
Medical Communications (often known as Med Comms) describes a sector of the marketing mix which, in short, is anything that is not an advert or piece of media coverage. Medical Communications, ranging from publications to medical education, is an important part of the pharmaceutical marketing mix. It is a strategic communications approach that will utilise a variety of channels to convey a consistent, clear and compelling message to support the Pharma company and their product throughout the brand lifecycle by use of the following:
This process is instrumental in shaping marketing and creating a receptive and knowledgeable environment for a product throughout its brand lifecycle. It is important in building confidence, experience and market share and can bring together the industry and healthcare professionals with a focus on mutual goals and aspirations. A Med Comms agency is placed to provide clinical evidence in a compelling way, while ensuring this evidence is endorsed by expert third parties.
A career in medical communications involves translating complex scientific and medical information into accessible and engaging content for various audiences, including healthcare professionals, patients, and the general public. Medical communicators play a vital role in disseminating accurate and up-to-date information about medical products, treatments, and research findings. They work in diverse settings, including pharmaceutical companies, medical education companies, healthcare agencies, research institutions, and nonprofit organisations.
Medical Writer: Medical writers create a wide range of materials, such as scientific manuscripts, medical education materials, promotional materials, regulatory documents, and patient education resources. They must be skilled in distilling complex scientific data into clear and concise language while adhering to ethical and regulatory guidelines.
Medical Editor: Medical editors review and edit medical content to ensure accuracy, clarity, and adherence to style guidelines. They play a crucial role in maintaining the quality and scientific integrity of medical communications.
Medical Affairs Specialist/Manager: Medical affairs professionals support the development and communication of medical information related to pharmaceutical products. They collaborate with cross-functional teams, provide medical support to marketing activities, and ensure compliance with regulations.
Digital Content Specialist: In today's digital age, there is a growing demand for professionals who can create and manage online medical content, including websites, social media platforms, webinars, and podcasts.
Medical Communications Consultant: Medical communications consultants work independently or with consulting firms, offering their expertise to pharmaceutical companies and other organisations. They may assist in developing medical education programs, advisory boards, and other scientific initiatives.
Medical Education Manager: Medical education managers design and execute educational programs and initiatives targeted at healthcare professionals to improve their knowledge of specific medical topics or treatments.
Patient Advocacy and Engagement Specialist: These professionals focus on developing patient-centric materials and educational resources to empower patients with accurate information about their health conditions and treatment options.
A career in medical communications requires excellent scientific literacy, writing skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work within regulatory constraints, such as those set by the FDA or other health authorities. Professionals in this field should also be comfortable communicating with diverse audiences, including healthcare professionals, patients, and the general public.
Educational backgrounds for medical communications roles often include degrees in life sciences, pharmacy, medicine, journalism, communications, or related fields. Additional certifications or training in medical writing, editing, or communication can be advantageous for career growth in this dynamic and evolving field.
Find out more about how to progress your Medical Communications career here.
The majority of people who work within Medical Communications will be educated to a minimum of degree level in a relevant subject such as:
PhD’s are also common for medical writers but not essential.
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