How much does an abstract cost?

4 min read
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First Published: 
Jun 2021

Writing an abstract involves considerable research involving time and focused effort. Following Good Publication Practice-3 (GPP3)2 guidelines and ensuring accuracy of information is paramount to meet the selection criteria for presentation of the work at any congress.  

The three main abstract types are:  

  • Original – The initial presentation
  • Encore – Essentially a reformatted version of the original (with minor changes) based on the specific requirements stipulated by different congresses
  • Repurposed – New data, analyses added to the original presentation

As with any communications-based deliverable, arriving at an accurate cost amount without a clear project brief is a challenge. Since there are multiple variables involved such as:

  • Getting an experienced writer/reviewer team put together who have a background in the specific therapeutic area, drug or medical device
  • Hiring an expert as a consultant if required
  • Client’s internal approval process/team, preferred style of work
  • A synergistic project management process to connect, streamline and manage the overall workflow, and so on.

The bottom line is, a starting point price for abstracts can range from €500 to €3000 or more depending on the complexity of work. A more accurate pricing can only be established once the agency has had a project briefing session with the client.

Below is an outline of  ‘standard’ deliverables (depending on the appropriate price point) that can be expected from the communications agency developing an abstract (in focus are deliverables for original and encore abstracts):

Original abstract

  • Developing a first and final draft of the content, addressing two sets of author comments
  • Performing a quality control phase: annotating the abstract to show where the numerical data cited in it comes from and conducting a data integrity check
  • Submission to a congress and subsequent activity to track its acceptance
  • Setting-up the project, project management, and editorial and strategic input, from initiation to completion

Encore abstract

  • Editing/formatting an abstract that was previously presented at a major international congress, for submission to another conference
  • Assumes no changes in data or major revisions other than word count
  • Translation (if required)
  • Submission to a congress and subsequent activity to track its acceptance
  • Setting-up the project, project management, and editorial and strategic input, from initiation to completion

Approximate timelines

As with pricing, the timelines above are approximate and would depend on short turnaround times from both client and agency. The more familiar an agency becomes with a client’s strategy, language and preferred way of working, the faster and more cost-effective they become.

A few quick points to factor-in while considering a medical communications agency to develop an abstract:

Does the agency have:

  • A track record of successfully presented papers in prestigious congresses
  • Access to experienced medical writers, reviewers, expert consultants specialized in the therapeutic area, drug and disease field specific to a client
  • Industry leading Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) in place aligned with Good Publication Practice-3 (GPP3)2 guidelines and a robust project management process  to ensure the desired outcome required by the client is achieved.

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Renny J. Thomas
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