Pin Lu, AMICULUM Access and AMICULUM Asia
I came to the UK after completing my PhD in cell and developmental biology. The transition from being a student in bustling Hong Kong to working as a postdoc in northeast England wasn’t hard; however, the uncertainty associated with being a fixed-term researcher took its toll. I still loved research, but I couldn’t see a future for me in science; at that time, being a lecturer or lab researcher were the only options I knew of.
That was when I discovered my interest in writing. I was fascinated by many aspects of life in the UK and started to write about them for publications in China and the UK, to the point that I began to consider it as a career option. So, after a second postdoctoral stint, I quit research and became a writer. For a few years, I worked for several publications, including The Guardian, and I still write for a couple of newspapers and magazines.
However, the scientist inside me had never left. I eventually concluded that I wanted something that combined science with my passion for writing. When a friend (now colleague) introduced me to medical communications, I found the perfect way forward.
I’m extremely grateful to the owner of a UK-based medical communications agency who took me in when I had no experience. Fortunately, my interest in market access and health economics matched the agency’s speciality. With an open-minded boss and a supportive team, I had many chances to learn from experienced writers and account managers.
Moving to AMICULUM gave me opportunities to expand my horizons. As part of both the Access and Asia teams, I have worked on a wide range of projects. AMICULUM supports staff members to work flexibly. I started working from home long before everybody else was forced to do so during the pandemic. It doesn’t suit everyone, and it lacks the benefit of being close to your colleagues, which is perhaps more important for new starters, but it can be very rewarding if you can establish clear boundaries between work and home life.
I expect more colleagues will be back in the office in the coming months, but the impact of the pandemic will be long-lasting. It’s not just clients’ disrupted pipelines and activities going virtual, but also that a clearer demonstration of value will be demanded by everyone when healthcare resources are stretched to the limit. The ability to make complex clinical and economic data more accessible and to communicate value to a wider audience of payers, HCPs and, increasingly, patients, will be crucial, and that is our strength. I’d like to think that our work in some small way contributes to the development of a fairer and more sustainable healthcare system.
I do see a role for me in science now, albeit on the communication side. I envy the current graduates who have access to much more support than I did, including the good work by MedComms Networking. Medical communications is certainly a science career worth considering.