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Medical Writing Guidelines

Medical & Scientific Writing

Medical Writing Guidelines

What is Medical Writing?

Medical writing involves communicating health and medicine related information in a clear and appropriate manner to the target audience. It may take many forms ranging from medical journalism, medical education, medical marketing of healthcare products, publication/presentation, research documents and regulatory documents. Since each of these types of medical writing is intended to the respective set of audiences, appropriate language and style of writing have to be followed to serve the purpose.

It is necessary for a medical writer to thoroughly understand the purpose of the project being taken up, conduct a brief search to collect related literature and then compile the document. Before the document is made available for electronic publishing, it should be rigorously edited, proof-read, formatted as per requirements, checked for plagiarism and signed off.

Medical Writing Guidelines

In order to provide guidelines for the medical writers and outline their designated role in peer-reviewed publications, the European Medical Writers Association has developed a set of guidelines few of which can be briefed as follows:

  • Unless the writer has made a significant contribution towards the analysis and interpretation of data and be accountable to the research, he shouldn’t be given an authorship of the publication
  • The named author(s) must be involved at the earliest possible stage and be responsible for all stages of the publication
  • The medical writer is a mere facilitator in developing the manuscript while the entire responsibility of the content is held by the named author(s)
  • The contribution of medical writer and funding source should be acknowledged to ensure transparency and declare any potential conflicts of interest
  • The medical writer must be provided with access to the study data and study protocols before starting work on the publication
  • The medical writer must ensure that the publications developed by them are scientifically valid and in line with the guidelines issued
  • All relevant findings included in the publication from other related reports should be appropriately cited

These guidelines act as an agenda for medical writers and employers who hire them. They should be followed in order to consistently maintain the quality of publications. There exists a huge demand for medical writers in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, contract research organizations, healthcare companies and media.

Online courses in Scientific and Medical Writing at James Lind Institute

James Lind Institute provides Advanced Post Graduate Diploma and Professional Diploma online courses in the field of medical writing and medical journalism to impart writing and analytical skills to its students. Apart from training them in the key areas of drug development, clinical research and clinical trial management, these self-paced programs provide an in-depth knowledge on writing medical case reports, clinical trial reports, clinical study protocols, manuscript writing, and various marketing material (medico-marketing writing).
These courses are suitable for fresh graduates as well as working professionals with a degree in bioscience/life sciences, MBBS, BDS, BPT, BAMS, BHMS, BUMS, MSc, B.Pharm, M.Pharm etc, pharmaceutical sciences, biostatistics, bioinformatics, chemistry, nursing and allied sciences. Nevertheless, these courses are also applicable to candidates without any science background or candidates with work experience in writing/ clinical research/ allied areas.
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