Medical Writing Medical Writing Around the World Medical Communication

Volume 22, Issue 2 - Medical Writing Around the World

Medical Communication


I'm sitting down to write this having just returned from the DIA Euro meeting in Amsterdam. As always, it was a busy and successful meeting, with many ‘themes’ of presentations being given at once. However, this year there were many presentations given around the theme of writing for patients and the lay audience; how risk and benefit should best be communicated to them, and even a whole session about how poorly the information sent to doctors and put inside package leaflets is written. I assumed that these sessions would be tucked away in a broom cupboard somewhere, and that the single other attendee and myself would have a pretty dull time of it, but I was delighted that not only were some of the sessions scheduled for the main auditorium, but that they were extremely well attended and generated lively debates following the presentations. It showed me that there is a real acceptance in the industry that we need to ‘do more, better’ for patients and prescribers, and that Pharma is very keen to do so. As medical communications writers, this is music to our ears (and not a new story), but I've returned hopeful and enthusiastic about the future of patient information.

This edition's article, by Jean-Louis Carsol, is a fascinating and brutally honest view of what it's like to make the transition from an academic background (in Jean-Louis' case from a PhD) into the hectic and highly stressed environment of a medical communications agency. Jean-Louis' background and transition is very similar to my own, and although I didn't go straight into an agency, many of his experiences are echoed by my own in the medical communications world of pharmaceutical companies. Jean-Louis has also ‘stepped outside’ of himself and offers an assessment of the many skills and attributes of someone with a PhD, and how they might equip someone for the world of agency writing. If you've never considered this type of writing before, Jean-Louis' article might help you to decide if it's ‘for you’ or not.

I hope that you enjoy the section and Jean-Louis' article, and as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Lisa Chamberlain James



  1. Moon A. From academic to medical writer: a guide to getting started in medical communications. Oxford, UK: NetworkPharma Ltd; 2012.
  2. Ellwood I. The essential brand book over 100 techniques to increase brand value. 2nd ed. London, UK: Kogan Page Ltd; 2002.
  3. The IAPI Guide to finding the right agency [Internet] Available from:
  4. WFA/EACA guidelines on client-agency relations and best practice in the pitch process [Internet]. Available from:
  5. Bly RW. The copywriter's handbook. A step-by-step guide to writing copy that sells. 3rd ed. New York: St. Martin's Griffin; 2005.
  6. Kover AJ. Copywriters' implicit theories of communication: an exploration. J Consum Res 1995;21:596–611.



Medical writing around the world
Message from the President
The yin and yang of medical writing in China
The changing face of medical writing in India
Medical writing in India at a crossroads
Medical writing in the Middle East
Medical writing in Finland
On the western edge of Europe – medical writing in Portugal
Announcing AERTeM, the Spanish Association of Medical Writers
From editors abroad into businesswomen back in Brazil
Science writing workshops for AIDS vaccine researchers in Africa
Medical postcard from Australia, the world's largest island
Teaching English for Medical Academic Purposes at the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade, Serbia
Regulatory medical writing in Switzerland
Medical writing in the Russian Federation: Promises and pitfalls
Report on the EMA Workshop on clinical trial data and transparency
Potential implications of wider data transparency in medical communications
The need for registration of preclinical studies
Mentorship in EMWA: A perspective
In the Bookstores
The Webscout
Regulatory Writing
English Grammar and Style
Medical Journalism
Medical Communication
The Light Stuff
Out On Our Own

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