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Medical Writer

Building a Successful Medical Writing/Editing Career

Updated: 2018-03-15T02:43:10.407-05:00




Train Broadly. Write Specifically.

I get one question repeatedly from new medical writers wanting to be trained. They are often not sure of what direction they want to take, so they ask: "Should I take a lot of medical writing courses and learn everything, or should I specialize in a specific type of medical writing?" It's really two questions, and let me separate them for you.

The first question is, "What kind of training should I take?" The second question is, "Should I be a specialist or generalist?" Both are good questions, and they are two questions, not one.

My simple and I hope memorable advice is: Train Broadly, Write Specifically.

When employers or companies look for medical writers, they typically want someone for a specific job, or a specific type of medical writing. They like to hire and work with specialists - people who know the particular field, who are familiar with the literature and practice around specific ailments, populations, pharmaceuticals, or devices. Everyone wants someone who knows what they are talking about, in order to get the most bang for the buck out of an author.

So, when you are presenting yourself for work, it's best to be the specialist who really knows what they are talking about.

Now, of course you can have specialties in a number of different areas. It's good to do that. That way you can have broader appeal to potential employers or buyers of your content. But they are only interested in the specialty relevant to THEM. Present yourself through your payer's eyes. Be the specialist THEY want.

Now, with regard to training, think about training broadly. There are about 7 different kinds of medical writing:
Consumer Health Writing
Abstracts and Posters
Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Grant Writing
Scientific Journal Writing
Regulatory Writing
Continuing Medical Education (CME) Writing

You can be well known in one or two kinds. But you should train broadly. That means Abstract and Poster Writing, and Biostatistics and Epidemiology skills are broadly applicable to Consumer Health Writing, Scientific Journal Writing, CME Writing, and Regulatory Writing.

And Scientific Journal Writing, Regulatory Writing and CME Writing require similar discipline in gathering evidence, performing analysis, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations. So, when you think of getting trained, train broadly, consider packages of Medical Writing Training. 

When you think of getting work, present yourself as the specialist to your potential payer.

Remember this simple advice: Train Broadly. Write Specifically.



Which Medical Writing Training Courses Should I Take?

We do lots of consults with budding medical writers each week, and people tend to ask us the same question. "I have an interest in X. What course or courses should I take?"

We used to recommend, "Take this course, then this course, then this course."

But now we've gotten better, and we help people more quickly.

We've identified five different kinds of interest people have, and put packages of courses together to meet those interests. Plus, we can discount the pricing significantly because people buy ONCE in a package, rather than needing to have us and them think about it 3-4 times. What a great solution!!

These Packages include both online Courses and online Seminars to round out your learning.

Here they are. Click on the one that interests you and see if this doesn't help you think about YOUR medical writing training needs.

1. New to Medical Writing

2. The Consumer Health Writer Package

3. The Scientific & Regulatory Writer Package

4. The Continuing Medical Education Package

5. The Complete Medical Writing Training System

And for those of you who like the Big Picture, here's a Comparison of all Five Packages. Let us know what you think.

Jonathan Marx
Medical Writing Training



Great article entitled How to Become a Competent Medical Writer by Dr. Suhasini Sharma, published in Perspectives in Clinical Research.

Before you read that, check out our new Complete Medical Writing Training System here:

Now, here's the article:




What Kind of Medical Writing Should I Do?........... I was Skyping with a scientist the other day who wanted to get into medical writing. She was interested in one of our medical writing courses, and she wanted to know which medical writing course she might start with.

We talked for awhile. She had an undergraduate and graduate background in science, was working for a pharmaceutical company preparing specific reports, and wanted to stretch out more broadly into earning money as a medical writer, or getting a medical writing job. Consumer health writing was of interest, but she wanted something more technical.

We discussed our Science Journal Writing Course, our medical writing course called Regulatory Writing in the U.S., and lastly, our CME Training for Medical Writers. With discussion, she decided to start with Regulatory Writing, as this was closest to what she was currently doing. When she is done with that, she'll move on to CME Training for Medical Writers, because she is interested in working with physicians. A brief conversation really helped with her direction, and she was very appreciative.

We help medical writers get trained, get work, get jobs, with our various services. It can be a puzzling decision to make, but we can help you too. You can enjoy a free video webinar on "Career Opportunities in Medical Communication," get a listing of our courses, and even a discount on your first purchase.

Check it out:




We're all about helping medical writers develop their businesses and careers.

With all the social media available these days, it's my thought that if you're not present in some way with a profile, comments, and content, displaying who you are and what you think, that you are at significant disadvantage in getting found online for business and career prospects.

Have a full profile on our Medical Writing Network, with a picture, is a good thing. Doing the same on Linked In is also important.

I know many medical writers tend to be on the introverted side. That introvert gift is what makes you a great medical writer... the ability to think, research, organize, and write.

The good news is that being social in social media plays on your given and developed talents. It's almost ALL writing.

How well can people find YOU on the Internet?


Jonathan Marx is Senior Vice President of InQuill Medical Communications and an expert in medical writing, medical writing training, medical marketing, and CME. - CME medical writing and accreditation. - Online, affordable medical writing training - Network of 2000 medical writers.

Five steps to getting published with your medical writing.


Here are five first steps to getting published with your medical writing.

Your first best step is to do homework and research on what magazines, periodicals, societies already publish in your area of interest or specialty.    

Second, identify those who are most likely to take content from you based on what they already publish. Go WITH the flow of these publications.

Third, read the last 4-5 issues and see what the magazines are focusing on. 

Fourth, get the contact information and editorial guidelines for the relevant publications. Make a list for yourself, so that you can get in touch with them.    

Fifth, after doing your research, make contact with the publication to discuss what you have to offer in the way of writing based on what THEY want or what direction THEY are going in. Forget what you are researching. You have to go in THEIR direction.

With careful research, you will hopefully choose publications that are a good match for you and are interested in what YOU are already researching and writing. If there is no match, you have to find another publication, or you have to change what you are doing to make a good match.

Jonathan Marx is Senior Vice President of InQuill Medical Communications and an expert in medical writing, medical writing training, medical marketing, and CME. - CME medical writing and accreditation. - Online, affordable medical writing training - Network of 2000 medical writers.

Getting your first job in medical writing.


A lot of people ask me how to get a FIRST job in medical writing.I often hear two questions.The first question is: "I want a job, but they tell me that I need experience. And they won't give me a job, because they want experience. So, how am I supposed to get experience if they won't give me a job?"The second question is: "If I take a Medical Writing course, how long will it take me to get a job? Can I get a job right away?"Allow me to share the answers I share with such inquiries.First, there's no simple formula of "Do this, and you'll get a job." Getting a start as a medical writer, even if you are an MD PhD with years of work experience, takes consistent and never-ending work.But there are three efforts you can put forward which do work consistently over time. They are easy to remember, and take some work to do.First: Get Trained. Pick your writing specialty and get trained in that specialty. You need to know the basics, the formats, the protocols, to be able to compete with other candidates.Second: Get Experience. Write articles for your own portfolio, so you can offer writing samples when asked. Work for free or reduced cost to get started. Take a low level position to get into a company, and then move up. You CAN build your own experience. I've heard such great stories from people just like you who don't wait for a job, but start building their experience and creating their own opportunities.Third: Get Known. You have to get your profile out there. Build a complete profile with work and education history and photo on the Medical Writing Network. You really need a photo... the photo helps create connection. Participate in social media discussions anywhere. Develop an email list and send emails. Become familiar to people so that you are top of mind when they have a need. Make an impression online. So many recruiters and employers search online first, so be there when they search.Remember these three imperatives for starting out in medical writing:Get trained.Get experience.Get known.They take some work on your part. With time, these efforts pay off!!Jonathan Marx is Senior Vice President of InQuill Medical Communications and an expert in medical writing, medical writing training, medical marketing, and - CME medical writing and - Online, affordable medical writing training - Network of 2000 medical writers.[...]



Job postings and other articles are now being published at the web site.

In the meantime, the archives of articles will remain on this Blogger site. Please click on the link above to see the new medical writing jobs available.

AMWA 2010 Annual Conference


November 11-13, 2010 - Milwaukee, WI

Tomorrow is the dealine to register for workshops for credits.

Regsiter here.

Two new CME PDF's for medical writing


I wrote to you a couple of days ago telling you about a new opportunity
to learn more about CME medical writing, and how to become a CME Medical
Writer if that's your interest.

My friend Johanna Lackner Marx has JUST posted her second PDF, so
now you can log in and learn how to research and write Needs Assessments
based on gaps in physician learning, but how to effective Educational
Objectives that meet CME requirements.

Did you know that medical errors are one of the top leading causes of
patient deaths, around the world? There is a new worldwide movement
taking place to identify gaps in clinician knowledge, train about those gaps,
and then follow up to see if patient care has improved. It's a whole new
exciting way of healing the world through physician learning and improvement
in care.

Check out Johanna's material here.

The materials are available for FREE until September 2.
If you like them enough, you can register and train with Johanna through her
online course, "CME Training for Medical Writers."

Johanna is a Nationally Certified CME Professional, and a true expert in both
CME and Training. She's got a wonderful module in her course on how
physicians learn. You'll see! Click here.

2011 - A New Career Direction for YOU?


My friend Johanna Lackner Marx, MPH MSW CCMEP owns InQuill Medical Communications,
LLC, and they have a stellar training program I thought you should know about.

Have you ever thought of earning income in a new way, adding some new tools to your kit?

InQuill focuses on CME medical writing - that's researching and writing medical content that goes into continuing educational programs for physicians - otherwise known as CME Continuing Medical Education.

I think with your background that you might be a good candidate to learn CME Medical Writing, if you are interested in the possibility of a new source of income. The whole world of CME has changed radically in the last few years. There is a new set of requirements for CME, and physicians now have to take a lot more CME course hours to maintain their licensure. That means there is a shortage of
CME Medical Writers who know the new rules and can supply the growing demand
for CME Content.

InQuill is right at this sweet spot of opportunity. They specialize in CME Medical Writing, and Johanna is a nationally certified CME Professional - she's an expert at the top of her field. She knows CME, she knows how to train, she knows how to get CME work.

For the next two weeks until September 2, Johanna is pre-recruiting potential
students for her in-depth, on-line course, "CME Training for Medical Writers."
Courses start each month in September, October, and November.

To let you know more about InQuill and what they have to offer, Johanna
is offering a private FREE peek into portions of her CME course content.

If you visit the website link below, and submit your information, Johanna
will open up the world of CME for you with informative emails, PDF downloads,
and pieces of video training, all of which will have you learn about CME, and
evaluate if this is a potential path for you.

Click here to find out more.

If you want to enroll for the course, great. I make a small commission for bringing you this information. Then you get to become a CME expert and start your new career in CME Medical Writing.

If you choose to pass, please accept the FREE content from both Johanna and me. It cost you nothing except a bit of your time.

2010 AMWA Annual Conference registration is now open!


From an AMWA email message:

Conference registration opened today for the 70th Annual Conference of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). There are new workshops, new certificates, and 40 open sessions (open sessions are included in your registration fee). Don’t forget that if you are not currently an AMWA member you can pay your dues along with conference registration and receive the member rate.

Register early for the annual conference workshops and roundtables! They fill quickly, so you’ll need to include 2 alternatives in case your first choice is not available when your registration form is processed. Online registration is not automatic on receipt by AMWA. All registrations are processed by AMWA headquarters in the order received, whether online, mailed, or faxed. Headquarters typically receives 400 registrations in the first day. Be prepared, be patient, and please give staff time to process. Thank you!

Available Breakfast Roundtables agendas have been linked in the registration brochure.

Hotel reservations are now open for the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, connected to the convention center via an enclosed skywalk. You can make your reservations online or you can contact the hotel directly at (414) 271-7250. Please make sure you identify yourself as an AMWA attendee to receive the discounted conference rate. Our group code is AMWA. The Hilton Milwaukee City Center is the official AMWA annual conference hotel.

Webinar to discuss the new AMWA curriculum


WHEN: Thursday, July 8, 8:00 pm OR Saturday, July 10, 10:30 am

SIGN UP: Contact Jeanie Woodruff at at your earliest convenience to sign up for one of the sessions.

WHY: Registration for the AMWA national conference in November will open on July 26. A number of significant changes have been made to the structure of the curriculum and the certificate tracks. These changes affect you if you are pursuing, or thinking about pursuing, an AMWA certificate—whether you are new to the process or well along in taking your workshops. AMWA Southwest is offering a webinar to help you understand the curriculum changes so you can plan your workshop schedule for the national conference.

WHO: Steve Palmer, PhD, ELS, past president of AMWA Southwest and current national Administrator of Chapters and Membership, will lead the discussion and answer your questions.

HOW: We will use GoToMeeting to produce the webinar, which you can conveniently access from your own computer. Audio/voice access is FREE if you have a headset or microphone/speakers on your computer; if not, you can view the webinar on your computer and access the audio/voice feature via a long-distance number (NOT FREE), which will charge you at your standard long-distance rate. Registrants will receive an e-mail with instructions for accessing the webinar.

CONTACT: Two identical sessions are offered, and registration is required. "Seating" is limited, so please contact Jeanie Woodruff at at your earliest convenience to sign up for one of the sessions.

Becoming a Medical Writer Indian Edition


Because we know of the explosion of the medical writing industry in India and the interest of many people to break into this wonderful career, we have decided to reduce the price of Becoming a Medical Writer Indian Edition from US$25 to US$12 (that's about INR 500).

Click here for more information and to buy the ebook.

Scientific Medical Writer Position


This job is in in Southern California, but relocation assistance is offered.Responsible for writing and editing key Global Safety and Epidemiology (GS&E) documents for global regulatory submissions, including Periodic Safety Update Reports (PSURs), Risk Management documents (RMPs and/or REMs), post-marketing sections of NDA/MAA/INDs, and post-approval regulatory commitments as needed. Will work primarily with Global Safety Scientists, Global Safety Officers, and Epidemiologists to coordinate, prepare, review and format GS&E documents and reports with well organized and effectively summarized safety information, with high quality and within predetermined timelines. The Professional will support consolidation of Team/Reviewer comments and questions and conduct data quality checks as needed.This is a position involving multi-disciplinary interaction within the various functional groups of GS&E as well as outside contributing departments, including Regulatory Affairs, R&D Clinical Development, Medical Affairs, Marketing, and on occasion Senior Management, Therapeutic Area Leads, and the Chief Medical Officer.The Professional is responsible for tracking progress of assignments and for assisting with multiple ongoing projects. Helps implement new/modified departmental processes (SOPs, WIs, templates and forms, etc), and must operate with minimal supervision. Serve on cross-functional committees and teams, as applicable. Excellent oral and written communication skills are required, with a strong knowledge of, and experience in interpreting and applying, global pharmacovigilance and risk management regulations and guidelines.· Assist GS&E staff in authoring draft and final documents, applying scientific assessment to content, and completing according to predetermined timelines. Work with GS&E colleagues and contributing stakeholders to consolidate and address feedback/questions arising from Team Review of documents.· Support Quality checks of safety data and information as applicable to ensure accuracy and high quality documents. Perform technical QC for published submissions as needed.· Keep up-to-date knowledge of regulatory document requirements and assure documents meet Regulatory requirements as well as departmental standards for formatting, consistency, and adherence to company Styles. Apply a solid understanding of content and formatting requirements for PSURs, RMPs/REMs and post-marketing sections of regulatory filings (NDA, MAA, IND). Work with GS&E staff to produce/update Common Technical Documents (CTD) templates and other templates as needed.· Attendance at team meetings or cross-functional committees· Supports GS&E in maintaining tracking system for safety related documents/deliverables, and assists with document archival in electronic document management systems.QualificationsEducation and Experience· An advanced degree (or equivalent experience) in health care, or other suitable combination of education and 5+ years of specific experience.· Experience preparing PSURs, RMPs/REMs, and other post marketing safety reports for regulatory agency submission· Understanding of EU and US Pharmacovigilance, Risk Management, and post-marketing safety requirements· Familiarity with medical terminology, and MedDRAEssential Skills and Abilities· Excellent planning, organization, and communication skills (written and oral).· Ability to compose and review scientific documents for content, grammar and style, with high degree of attention to detail and i[...]

Regulatory Writing Position


Responsible for researching, writing, and editing materials for regulatory submission. As a member of the medical communications team, relies on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job.

Essential Functions:

Primary responsibilities are as follows:

1. Works with data management and clinical operations groups to review and interpret clinical trial data
2. Compiles, writes, and edits regulatory materials (IND/NDA), with specific emphasis on clinical study reports, investigator brochures, and SAE narratives
3. Assists other writers in the compilation, writing, and editing of regulatory materials
4. Manages review and revision processes for multiple, concurrent projects
5. Ensures quality of content and format of publications in accord with applicable regulations, guidelines, and corporate SOPs

Skills Required:

1. Knowledge of FDA regulatory requirements, Good Publication Practice (GPP) and ICH guidelines, including strong familiarity with the eCTD
2. Strong medical and/or scientific writing skills
3. Ability to work well in a team environment, with the ability to work effectively independently
4. Efficient project management skills
5. Good work ethic

Education or Equivalent Experience:

• Bachelor’s degree in applied or life science or communications, with a 3-5 years of medical, regulatory, or clinical writing experience in the pharmaceutical or biotech industry, or equivalent training and work experience. An advanced degree is preferred. Ophthalmology experience a plus.

Remuneration based upon experience.


If interested, please forward résumé and salary requirements to

Medical Communications Position


The role of the Medical Writer, within the Medical Communications Department, has three primary components consisting of (1) Research – taking sole ownership of subject matter through guidance from internal subject matter experts or individual researching; (2) Organizational Skills – maintain a structured, disciplined process and organization to produce consistently high quality, on-time work product; and (3) Communication – impart the value and progress of projects to other members of the Ora team, interact in a professional manner with multiple layers of educated individuals, know your audience and write accordingly.PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:Ensure a top-tier quality-product required to satisfy both very demanding internal and external clients.• Set Strategic Growth Direction –o Work with Manager of Medical Communications to plan future individual growth.o Recognize potential business building opportunities with current clients.• Lead the Writing –o Take ownership of project subject matter through expert seeking of resources.o Define the objectives and key messages clearly and concisely to all parties involved, prior to commencing project work.o Ensure that all materials submitted to journals/clients/regulatory agencies are accurate and complete according to guidelines/requirementso Write like your life depends on it.o Maintain and track review process to ensure on-time completion and identify timeline problems prior to missing deadline.o Provide constructive feedback to authors, reviewers and subject matter experts to constantly improve the workflow and product quality – do not be a stenographer, be a writer!• Build and Maintain Relationshipso Interact with journal editors to place articles that are both requested by editors and those that are not requested.o Interact with internal and external clients to gain an understanding of business needs and marketing initiatives to enhance the messaging platform.• Flexibility Across Mediumso Own project subject matter across and produce work across the entire life cycle of information including: Peer Review Journals (New England Journal of Medicine style) Presentation Slides Product or Therapeutic Category Fact Sheets Trade Journal Articles (Review of Ophthalmology, Ocular Surgery News) Scientific Meeting Abstracts and PostersREQUIRED SKILLS AND ATTRIBUTES:At Ora, your values, abilities, and track record of success are more important than direct experience. That being said, an ideal candidate would have the following:• Advanced Degree preferred, but not required.• Strong competencies in the following areas: intellect (the ability to learn, understand, innovate, and apply analytical rigor), personal skills (integrity, candor, excellence, etc.), and interpersonal skills (oral and written communication, emotional intelligence, customer service, etc.)• Prior experience writing in the non-regulatory pharmaceutical space (Medical Communications, Medical Education) in the Ophthalmology or Allergy therapeutic areas.• Proven ability to multi-task and follow-through and work both independently or as part of a larger team.• Proficiency with Microsoft Office and presentation software programs (PowerPoint, Keynote).• Enjoy and love writing, do not use it as a stepping stone.To apply, go to[...]

PLx Pharma - Seeking Contract Medical Writer


PLx Pharma, a Houston area pharmaceutical company, is looking for an experienced medical writer who can assist in the preparation of reports and submissions to the FDA, related to:

- Reports of non-clinical studies. For example…

o Formulation studies in which materials are characterized via HPLC, FTIR, HPTLC, or other analytical methods;
o Non-GMP stability studies;
o Rodent studies evaluating safety and efficacy of test articles.
- Regulatory submissions, particularly related to various Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) items. For example,…
o Integrated discussion of GMP stability programs for products in development, including synthesis of data;
o Summary and discussion of manufacturing process development, from pilot scale to commercial scale (i.e., enumeration of changes over time and at various scales, with rationale);
o Authoring various sections of the Quality (CMC) module of the Common Technical Document/New Drug Application for one or more products.

Our preference would be to identify one or more persons who are local, are experienced in producing reports for pharmaceutical/biotech companies, and have some familiarity with the various analytical methods mentioned. Although the writer need not be local, at least some direct experience is required. Expertise in pharmaceutics would be a plus.

This writing opportunity would be on a contract, part-time basis, but could occupy from 25% to 75% of a writer’s time, based on the projects that are ultimately assigned, availability, and rate.

Those wishing to be considered for this opportunity should email Jason Moore at jason.moore (AT), attaching a work summary or resume/CV.