We are often asked by potential pharma transcription clients why it’s so important that they do business only with U.S.-based transcription companies. They are often enticed by the low rates offered by international companies, particularly those in India and the Philippines. Why not pay less for the same pharmaceutical transcription services?

Well, the short answer (and maybe you saw this coming) is that you aren’t getting the same quality of pharma transcription service from global companies. In our industry, you very much get what you pay for.

I can’t stress this enough, and there are many examples of why offshoring your pharmaceutical transcription is a bad idea. Here’s a typical scenario. Imagine you’re a consultant working with a large pharmaceutical company. You are likely getting paid very well to find out specific data such as results from panel discussions, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews. Chances are, you are recording these sessions using an audio or video recorder. That means you need a pharma transcription service to convert those conversations into usable text.

Considering that these companies are making potentially million-dollar decisions based on your data, how important is it that you get your pharma transcription right? And what kind of service are you getting at this discounted rate?

4 Ways Good Pharma Transcription Beats Out Bad

There are four main reasons why it’s important to keep your pharma transcription within the U.S.:

  • Accuracy
  • Safety
  • Quality
  • Reliability


Accuracy in your pharmaceutical transcription is paramount. We’ve seen through LASA (look-alike, sound-alike) drug errors how one wrong word can lead to potential medication errors. Those same types of errors can lead pharmaceutical market researchers to vastly different conclusions.

Compounding this problem is the language barrier. When you offshore your pharma transcription, the transcriptionists working on your project often speak English as a second language. Even for those who do speak English fluently, they may not be trained in the highly specialized medical field. Accents can also pose problems.

The result is that you must closely review all your transcripts and often spend more time filling in blanks or correcting words. How much are you really saving if you have to spend so much more time on your end fixing mistakes?

Data Safety

Confidentiality is another important consideration when it comes to pharma transcription. Your audio recordings may contain highly sensitive data. Why would you send your data half-way around the world, especially knowing that our privacy and other laws don’t apply? Not only are you opening yourself up to having your research compromised, but your data could potentially be held for ransom. (It’s happened before with hospital medical records being held for “ransom” by disgruntled offshore transcriptionists.)

Yes, you can argue that bringing in any third-party service opens you up to risk. But keeping your audio files and pharma transcription in the United States with a reputable and long-established transcription company greatly reduces that risk.


Certainly, accuracy discussed above plays into the quality of the pharma transcription. But in this case, we are talking more about the formatting of the final document. Sometimes you get the files back in some file format other than Word, which often means you have to convert it to the file format you need. Also, you will rarely get anything but straight text back from an offshore company. Within the U.S., most pharmaceutical transcription companies can handle requests for formatted documents. This might include creating a formal report in PDF format, tagged transcription to populate electronic databases, and more.

Again, you get what you pay for here. The point of any transcription service is to reduce the amount of work on your end. High-quality pharma transcription companies will help reduce the amount of hours you need to spend reviewing, correctly, formatting, and archiving your data. They can format your data any way you want, including generating reports using your own letterhead.


Reliability in your pharma transcription company is important, too. Speed falls under this heading, of course – you don’t want to be waiting months to get your transcripts and data back. Customer service is another important consideration. Anytime you partner with a third-party provider, it’s much easier if you can get along with that company. Many pharmaceutical transcription services are little more than production lines, simply processing your lines and moving on to the next project. However, a reliable pharma transcription company will take the time to ensure your transcripts are accurate, error-free within industry standards, and free of blanks and question marks wherever possible.

Is Price Important When It Comes to Pharmaceutical Transcription?

The short answer is, of course price is important! Any business, whether it’s market research, pharmaceutical consultancy, or a myriad of other services within the pharmaceutical industry wants to control costs. But if you cut corners and get a document returned full of errors, blank spaces, and erratic formatting, how much have you really saved? Besides, your reputation is on the line too. If your pharmaceutical client finds your reports riddled with errors, your chances for repeat business and referrals go way down.

There are few industries where accuracy is as important as the pharmaceutical industry. In turn, the pharma transcription company you choose should put accuracy, data safety, quality, and reliability at the top of its list. Although cost is important, you don’t want to end up paying with your reputation. You’re better off in the long run to avoid cheaper off-shore companies and instead compare the costs only of the top services in the United States.

Find out more about Elite Office Solutions’ pharmaceutical transcription services.