Outsourcing medical writing in pharma and healthcare companies is becoming increasingly popular. But how much does it cost to hire a freelance medical writer? How does one estimate the hourly rates and fees? Kolabtree digital content and communications manager Ramya Sriram answers this question and more. 


Freelance medical writers are becoming increasingly in-demand, especially as remote working is becoming the norm.

Medical writers are hired in-house or as freelancers in the pharma, research and healthcare fields, helping to prepare technical documents and create marketing content.

Here’s a brief overview of the kinds of medical writers, what they do, and how much they charge for their services as freelancers or consultants.


1. Regulatory writers

Prepare regulatory documents necessary for the approval of a clinical trial, a new product or a device.

Regulatory writers typically have a relevant master’s or PhD and a certificate in regulatory writing or they have demonstrable experience of creating these documents.

It’s essential to work with experienced regulatory writers, as making mistakes in these documents can come at a heavy cost and can delay the approval process further.


How much does it cost to hire a regulatory writer?

Regulatory writers can charge $50 (USD) and above per hour, based on the kind of work you need to get done.

For larger, more complex projects which involve in-depth consulting and understanding of the technical requirements, regulatory writers can charge $100 and above per hour.

Investing carefully in the right kind of regulatory consultant can help you save money in the longer run.

For example, if you’re looking to hire a clinical evaluation report writer (EU MDR) then you might want to check if they’ve had experience writing CERs for devices similar to yours.


2. Clinical writers

Clinical writers (typical designations: Medical Writer, Senior Medical Writer, Medical Writer II, etc.) work within the clinical research setting of an organisation.

They help prepare clinical study reports, clinical trial protocols, research proposals, regulatory documents and grant applications.

They may also overview and verify data and prepare tables and figures when necessary, helping to present data creatively.

Of late, clinical trial protocol writers and analysts also work with medical device and pharma companies remotely on a freelance basis.

This helps organisations access the most qualified people for the job while saving time and costs.


How much does it cost to hire a freelance medical writer for clinical projects?

Working with a clinical writer can cost between $40 to $60 per hour, depending on the complexity of the task and the level of experience required.

However, experienced writers can charge above $80 per hour.

3. Scientific writers and editors

Freelance scientific editors can help you prepare a research paper for publication in a journal of your choice.

Some scientific writers can also offer help with selecting the appropriate journal to increase your chances of publication.

Specialist medical writers have a strong background in a specific niche area such as cardiology or oncology.

These writers can help with preparing scientific manuscripts for publication, including editing for content, copy and style.

Freelance medical writers in this space work either independently or for organisations that offer research and publication services to specific industries and academia.


How much does it cost to hire a scientific editor ?

Journal article

Scientific editing of journal papers typically cost between $40 and $60.

The fee depends on the complexity of the script and the word length of the paper.

Typically, editing and reviewing a journal article costs $500 to $1,000; writing it costs $3,000 to $5,000 (this is based on data from Kolabtree).

Grant proposal

Typically, writing a grant proposal costs upwards of $1,000, while amending or editing it costs $500 to $800.

A freelance grant proposal writer charges between $40 and $60, but this may be more based on their rate of success and the kind of grant being applied for (based on data from Kolabtree).

Review article

Writing a review article typically costs $500 to $1,000. Hourly rates range between $40 and $60.

Literature review report

Conducting a literature search from scratch costs $2,000 to $4,000, writing a report based on existing data costs $300 to $500.

This also depends on the length of the report, the number of papers looked up in the literature search, any tables or graphs required, etc.


4. Medical content writers

Medical content writers typically develop marketing and educational content for a healthcare brand or company.

They may write blog articles, create advertising campaigns, write content for sales material such as leaflets and brochures, and develop website content.

Medical content writers may need to have a qualification in a medical-related field to be able to demonstrate a high level of authority in their field.

This is also valued by search engines such as Google’s E-A-T guidelines.


How much does it cost to hire a medical content writer?

White paper

The cost of getting a white paper developed by an expert varies depending on the expertise required and the audience it’s targeted at.

A 6 to 8 page white paper typically costs between $500 and $1500 for a general audience, and upwards of $3,000 for a technical audience.

Experts who develop white papers may charge approximately $50 per hour, but experienced consultants may charge upwards of $100.

Blog article

Typically, an expert-sourced blog article of about 1200 to 1600 words costs between $400 and $800; Per hour, medical content writers charge between $30 and $50.

News or media article

The typical cost for a news or media article written by a scientific expert of about 800 to 1200 words costs between $500 and $1,000.


So how much does it cost to hire a freelance medical writer?

Typically between $40 and $60 for less complex projects, and over $100 for more complex projects that involve a deep level of expertise.

Medical writers play a key role in healthcare organisations of all sizes, from one-person startups to full-fledged global organisations.

At each step of your product or research cycle, you need a writer to prepare required documents and a medical content marketer to promote your company’s offerings.

Medical writers are essential to healthcare companies of all sizes. The average salary of a medical writer in the UK is £33,283 and $72,000 in the USA.

Working with freelancers helps organisations save costs on hiring full-time employees.

The availability of a ready-to-hire global pool of freelance medical writers is a great asset for businesses looking to find expertise quickly and easily.