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Difference Between Medical Writing and Scientific Writing

There are different views on using these two terms- medical writing and safety writing. Hence we tried to put some light on this so that you can understand the real difference between scientific writing and medical writing.

Few use them interchangeably as well. We read many online resources on this topic and check the various job descriptions so we will share both understandings here.

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Table of Contents

Understanding 1: In many online resources:

So generally scientific writing is considered a big umbrella and Medical writing is a part of it.

So with this logic, all the medical writers are scientific writers, but all the scientific writers are not medical writers.

Medical writing is a much more specific field of scientific writing. Medical writing deals with the development of standard, comprehensive, reliable, skilful, and convincing clinical and scientific documentation.

Medical writing is an art of writing more efficiently and clearly about a particular content that can be simply understood as a target audience.

And all the writing-related to science can be considered under scientific writing categories.
It may be medical journalism, Protocol writing. PSUR, IND, Manuscript etc.
see the below NCBI article:

Understanding 2: From an employer perspective:

So organisations/employers use medical writer designation especially in their job description if they are seeking candidates for writing below documents.

  • Writing of Clinical trial protocols,
  • Investigator’s′ Brochure,
  • Informed Consent Documents
  • Clinical study report
  • IND
  • Periodic Safety Update Reports,
  • Periodic Adverse Drug Experience Reports,
  • DSUR
  • Bridging reports
  • Package Inserts (prescribing information) & Patient Information Leaflets
  • Subject narratives
  • and other regulatory documents

    You can see with the above examples, that medical writers are involved in writing exclusively medical and health-related documents and these documents follow country and organization-specific format and regulatory guidelines.

So Medical writing jobs require a good domain and regulatory guidelines knowledge along with excellent writing skills.

And all the writings except the above documents, fall under scientific writing categories.

  • Medical Journalism
  • Clinical trial publication
  • Press release
  • Medical education
  • Website content writing on health, clinical or other 
  • Science-related tutorial
  • Manuscript writing, slide decks
  • Abstracts
  • Posters,
  • Manuscripts, 
  • Standard response letters etc.

But many online resources (as per understanding 1), medical journalism, medical education etc are classified under the medical writing category. 

So you must see the complete job descriptions before applying to any job. And you can refer to understanding 2 for common understanding.

Please see these two job description for better ref:

Medical Writing Job Description:

Scientific Writing Job Description



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