by Anna BrambillaScientific Project Manager at LS Academy


In our previous blog (“3 MEDICAL WRITING MYTHS DEBUNKED – 1ST MYTH“) we said that it is crucial for promoting the role of professional medical writers and for countering misinformation that may hinder authors, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers from considering the use of medical writing support. Debunking these myths helps build trust, knowledge, and evidence-based practices in healthcare, benefiting individuals and society.

In the coming paragraphs, we’ll debunk a second popular myth: Medical writers are always experts in the field.

Myth n. 2 – Medical writers are always experts in the field: many people believe medical writing is a career exclusively for doctors or healthcare professionals. However, anyone with a solid scientific background and excellent writing skills can pursue a career in medical writing. Medical writers are often assumed to have extensive knowledge of all medical specialities. While they understand medical concepts and research methods well, they may not be experts in every field. A first degree in life science (e.g. biology, biochemistry, physiology) or chemistry is generally required, and some employers require advanced degrees (i.e. MSc, PhD, MD). This profile represents around 80% of medical writers in Europe. Understanding human biology, diseases, and their treatment is essential. Still, 20% of medical writers enter the profession with backgrounds in language and other disciplines rather than science.

Furthermore, there are several reasons why medical writers do not always need to be experts in the field. Here are a few reasons:

  • Broad range of medical documentation: Medical writing encompasses various types of content, including research papers, clinical trial reports, regulatory documents, and marketing materials. Medical writers often specialise in medical communications or regulatory writing to cover such a wide range of documents. Consequently, they may not have comprehensive expertise across all shorts of documentation.
  • Collaborative nature of medical writing: Medical writers frequently collaborate with subject matter experts (SMEs), such as physicians, researchers, and scientists, who possess deep knowledge and experience in a specific medical field. While the medical writer plays a crucial role in translating complex scientific information into readable content, they rely on the expertise and input of these specialists to ensure accuracy in their writing. Medical writers bring their writing skills to the table, but they are not expected to possess the same level of expertise as the SMEs.
  • Evolving medical landscape: Medicine is constantly evolving, with discoveries, research, and technological advancements. Staying up to date across numerous medical specialities can be a nearly impossible task. Medical writers often have one or a few areas of expertise and must adapt quickly to emerging information and research outside their primary domain of expertise.
  • Research and interpretation: Medical writers are skilled in researching and understanding complex medical topics but are not always the primary researchers behind studies or trials. They often rely on research conducted by experts in the field and thoroughly review relevant literature to comprehend and communicate the information accurately.
  • Specialised training and transferable skills: Medical writers typically possess a solid foundation in scientific writing and have expertise in communication, writing, and organisation. While they may not be experts in specific medical fields, they are trained to effectively synthesise and present scientific information in a clear and accessible manner. Their primary strength is their ability to understand and communicate complex concepts.

In conclusion, the myth that medical writers are always experts in their field is debunked. While they possess a strong understanding of medical terminology and concepts, they collaborate with subject matter experts, specialise in specific areas, and rely on extensive research to ensure accuracy. Their true expertise lies in their ability to translate and convey complex medical information to diverse audiences accurately.




3 Medical Writing Myths Debunked - 2nd myth - LS Academy