A wintry London in January saw the release of the first joint position statement on the role ofthe professional medical writer (page 7). But why do we need such a statement and what does it say? The Executive Committee identified the need to update our guidelines on medical writing, and Sam Hamilton approached Art Gertel and me in May last year about the possibility of a joint position statement endorsed by both the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and EMWA. When the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) also said that they would come on board, we knew we were onto something. Eight months later, at the 2017 European meeting of ISMPP, the AMWA–EMWA–ISMPP Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers was launched.