You Need a Medical Communications Agency for Publication Planning

Publication planning is one of the most important components of a communications strategy for a drug or device, and it forms the base upon which pharma companies can share key scientific data on a product and spread awareness. A requirement in many countries, publishing critical data from clinical trials informs key external stakeholders of a product’s efficacy, safety and viability and serves to create an understanding of unmet needs in healthcare.

Abstracts, congress presentations, posters and journal articles are intended to provide authoritative and digestible information to healthcare professionals about the risks and benefits associated with a drug or device. Pharma companies often enlist the services of a medical communications company to make that information compelling and use it to tell a well-organized long-term story. Medical communications companies have the ability to take scientific data and translate it into a meaningful narrative that engages stakeholders at every phase of a new product’s cycle, from clinical trials to commercialization. They understand how to strategically plan for the publication of medical research results, and they work in accordance with Good Publication Practice (GPP3)[1] guidelines, to comply with ethical and transparency best practices and legal requirements.

The GPP3 guidelines cover publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as oral or poster presentations at scientific congresses.[1] Attendance at targeted, top-tier congresses and publishing in the best journals is very important to a drug’s first, and overall, impression. Such favourable exposure can help a pharma company obtain FDA, EPA or other regulatory body approval. Additionally, articles published and referenced in journals and presented at congresses raise awareness of unmet needs and of new, improved medicines and devices, in this way changing patients’ lives.

A good medical communications company will already have a strong knowledge of the product’s disease area and proven medical writing skills, but they should also have strategic planning, project management and marketing expertise. They need all of these capabilities to set publication goals and meet key timelines; identify and target the right congresses and publications; collaborate with the client and their designated author(s); and transform raw clinical data into the targeted, engaging medical literature. To get there, the medical communications company will need to follow a process that includes many steps.

Key Publication Planning Steps:

Initial Author Contact
  • Initiate communication with the named author(s)
  • Facilitate client-author communication
Outline Phase
  • Facilitate journal/congress selection and identify specifications
  • Discuss potential content and flow with lead author
  • Draft an abstract or manuscript outline based on direction provided by the lead author
  • Coordinate outline approval with the lead author on behalf of all named authors
First Draft Phase
  • Provide background literature searches and reviews
  • Optimize scientific communication and data presentation
  • Facilitate the development of an early draft, based on approved outline and discussion with lead author
  • Collate and incorporate author comments into an early draft
  • Provide editorial and proofreading services
Subsequent Drafts
  • Manage and collate author comments and make revisions
  • Provide reference verification services
  • Ensure journal or congress specifications are fulfilled
  • Coordinate final draft approval
Submission Process
  • Assist with the initial submission
  • Facilitate completion of copyright assignment forms
  • Manage peer-reviewed comments and assist with responses to editor requests in consultation with the author

If the submission was an abstract for the purpose of presenting at a congress, the communications company should assist with a slide deck or poster development and help the presenting author(s) prepare for the event.

A well-developed and executed publication plan that follows Good Publication Practice guidelines will provide the foundation for a solid communication strategy. It will build awareness and help healthcare providers understand and support its use to improve patients’ lives. Publication planning sets the tone and provides the foundation for all that is to come. So, for your next product, choose a medical communications company that not only has strong disease state knowledge and medical writing skills but also expertise in strategic planning, project management and marketing.

How Six Degrees Medical can help:

 Our highly experienced team of medical communications professionals truly understands client objectives and the science and data behind them. We partner with our clients to develop strategic publication plans and support authors to facilitate abstract and manuscript development. We also take care of poster and slide deck development for congresses, and we coach authors on presenting to maximize impact and ensure they are comfortable addressing audience questions. With our innovative and well-tested process, we help reduce publication development timelines, enhance the probability of target congress and journal acceptance, and grow brand and product awareness.
Tags: Medical Communications Agency Publication Planning Medcomms 


[1] ACP, ‘Good Publication Practice for Communicating Company-Sponsored Medical Research: GPP3’,



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