Medical communicators who adhere to ethical practices contribute to strengthening the integrity of the medical literature, improving medical treatment, and fostering confidence and trust in and respect for the undertaking of medical research and communication.
AMWA developed a code of ethics that requires members to adhere to 8 principles "guiding the professional activities of medical communicators so as to engage only in activities that bring credit to their profession, to AMWA, and to themselves."
AMWA continues to provide leadership to the field of medical communication in defining and advocating for the role of medical writers to scientific publications.
AMWA Code of Ethics
The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) is an educational organization that promotes excellence in medical communication and recommends principles of conduct for its members. These principles take into account the important role of medical communicators in writing, editing, and developing materials in various media and the potential of the products of their efforts to inform, educate, and influence audiences. To uphold the dignity and honor of their profession and of AMWA, medical communicators should accept these ethical principles and engage only in activities that bring credit to their profession, to AMWA, and to themselves.
Principle 1. Medical communicators should recognize and observe statutes and regulations pertaining to the materials they write, edit, or otherwise develop.
Principle 2. Medical communicators should apply objectivity, scientific accuracy and rigor, and fair balance while conveying pertinent information in all media.
Principle 3. Medical communicators should write, edit, or participate in the development of information that meets the highest professional standards, whether or not such materials come under the purview of any regulatory agency. They should attempt to prevent the perpetuation of incorrect information. Medical communicators should accept assignments only when working in collaboration with a qualified specialist in the area, or when they are adequately prepared to undertake the assignments by training, experience, or ongoing study.
Principle 4. Medical communicators should work only under conditions or terms that allow proper application of their judgment and skills. They should refuse to participate in assignments that require unethical or questionable practices.
Principle 5. Medical communicators should expand and perfect their professional knowledge and communications skills.
Principle 6. Medical communicators should respect the confidential nature of materials provided to them. They should not divulge, without permission, any patent, proprietary, patient, or otherwise confidential information.
Principle 7. Medical communicators should expect and accept fair and reasonable remuneration and acknowledgment for their services. They should honor the terms of any contract or agreements into which they enter.
Principle 8. Medical communicators should consider their membership in AMWA an honor and a trust. They should conduct themselves accordingly in their professional interactions.
Original: Eric W. Martin, PhD 1973
First revision: June 1989
Second revision: April 1994
Third revision: June 2008
Inquiries regarding AMWA's Code of Ethics or Grievance Process may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.