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PDA Glossary

PDA Glossary of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Terminology

PDA Technical Reports are highly valued membership benefits because they offer expert guidance and opinions on important scientific and regulatory topics and are used as essential references by industry and regulatory authorities around the world. These reports include terms which explain the material and enhance the reader’s understanding.

The database presented here includes the glossary terms from all current technical reports. The database is searchable by keyword, topic, or by technical report. Each definition provided includes a link to the source technical report within the PDA Technical Report Portal.

Browse Terms by Title


Browse Terms by TR #

  • Active Systems

    Systems with active temperature control (e.g., air/sea freight containers, refrigerated trucks/cars). (TR39)

    System with active temperature control. It makes use of electricity or fuel for the compressor to maintain temperature. Examples include refrigerated trucks, temperature-controlled ocean containers, and active ULDs. (TR58)

    Actively powered system that uses electricity or other fuel source to maintain a temperaturecontrolled environment inside an insulated enclosure under thermostatic regulation (e.g., cold room, refrigerator, temperature-controlled truck, refrigerated ocean or air container). (TR64) (TR72)

    (Synonym: Active Temperature Controlled System)

  • Ancillary Packaging Components/Systems

    Additional means used in combination with the basic transportation unit to maintain the required temperature during transport. Examples include active systems and passive systems. (TR39)

  • Bulk Packaged Product

    Consists of solid, liquid, or frozen product in a bulk container configuration such as a bag, tank, or drum. The product may be in these container configurations between process steps or prior to filling into vials, ampoules, cartridges, or syringes. (TR39)

  • Change Control

    A formal program that describes evaluation and actions to be taken if a change is proposed or completed to facilities, materials, equipment, and/or processes used in the fabrication, packaging, and testing of drugs, or a proposed or completed change that may affect the operation of the quality or support systems. (TR22) (TR39) (TR52) (TR58) (TR64) (TR 70)

  • Critical Quality Attribute (CQA)

    A physical, chemical, biological, or microbiological property or characteristic that should be within an appropriate limit, range, or distribution to ensure the desired product quality. (TR14)(TR54)(TR54-4)(TR57)(TR57-2)(TR60)(TR01)

    Product attributes that affect product safety, identity, strength, quality and purity.(TR15)

    Attributes that describe a parameter or item that must be controlled within predetermined criteria to ensure that the medicinal product meets its specifications .(TR39)

    A defining characteristic of the product, including purity, strength, identity and safety.(TR44)

    A physical, chemical, biological or microbiological property or characteristic that should be within an appropriate limit, range, or distribution to ensure the desired product quality.(TR74)(TR 54-5)(TR81)

    A physical, chemical, biological or microbio­logical property or characteristic that should be within an appropriate limit, range, or distribu­tion to ensure the desired product quality, as de­fined in ICH Quality Guidance Q8. (TR56)

    A physical, chemical, biological, or microbio­logical property or characteristic that should be within an appropriate limit, range, or distribu­tion to ensure the desired product quality. (TR60-2)

  • Design Qualification (DQ)

    Documented verification that the proposed design of the systems is suitable for the intended purpose. Also establishing confidence that ancillary component systems are capable of consistently operating within established limits and tolerances. (TR39) (TR48) (TR64) (TR 72)

  • Distribution

    Transport of a medicinal product from a drug manufacturer’s warehouse/storage facility to distribution centers, commercial customers, or clinical facilities. Subsequent distribution may also occur. (TR39)

    Movement of product within a designated supply chain, including activities that range from preparation for shipment to receipt of the product at the final destination.(TR58)

  • Distribution Temperature

    The temperature range, supported by stability studies, within which a medicinal product can be transported for a short duration of time without adverse effect on quality parameters. (TR39)

  • ISTA: International Safe Transit Association

    World-wide organization that supports its membership in designing and developing effective pre-shipment packaging performance standards, guides, and best practices for product distribution. (TR39)

  • Market Package

    The package presentation intended for the end user (e.g., bottle + cap liner + screw cap + label + dose cup + carton; may contain multiple units of product), but not including packaging used solely for transportation (e.g., corrugated boxes or insulated containers). (TR39)

  • Medicinal Product

    Any product intended for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease. (TR39)

  • Passive System

    Systems without active temperature control. Refrigerants may be, for example, gel packs, dry ice, water, and/or ice. Examples include insulated containers, packouts and cool boxes/containers. (TR58)

    Systems without active temperature control (e.g., insulated containers with or without refrigerants). (TR39)

  • Performance Qualification (PQ)

    Documented verification that the equipment and ancillary systems, as connected together, can perform effectively and reproducibly based on the approved process method and specifications. (TR3) (TR14) (TR45) (TR42) (TR48) (TR61) (TR64)

    Transport tests of product or representative product that is conducted during actual transportation or distribution. (TR39)

    Documented evidence that provides a high de­gree of assurance that the equipment and/or system functions accurately and consistently according to predetermined specifications in its operating environment. (TR54-5)

  • Primary Packaging Component

    A component that is (or may be) in direct contact with the dosage form. Some examples of primary components are glass vials, syringe barrels, bottles, rubber closures, and container or closure liners. (TR39)

  • Qualification

    Documented testing that demonstrates with a high degree of assurance that a specific process will meet its pre-determined acceptance criteria. (TR39) (TR58) (TR64)

  • Quality Management (QM)

    System for Transport Service Providers:A QM system that may cover topics such as, but not limited to:(TR39) GMP/GDP relevant processes identified and described in standard procedures, a procedure to identify the main functions of individuals, roles and responsibilities, and contact information of relevant individuals in the case of a deviation, an adequate change control system and an adequate deviation management system, including procedures for corrective actions

  • Secondary Packaging Component

    A component that is not nor will not be in direct contact with the drug product (e.g., vial seals, overwraps, container labels). The purpose of secondary packaging is to identify, protect, market, and communicate information about the product. Examples of secondary packaging include labels, cartons/folding boxes, and leaflets. (TR39)

  • Shipper

    An individual or company who tenders products for transportation. (TR39)

    The person or organization responsible for arranging transportation of goods with carriers and/or freight forwarders. (TR58)

  • Shipping

    The transit of any material by land, sea, or air from one site to another. This may include intraplant movements. (TR39)

  • Stability

    The capacity of a drug substance or a drug product to remain within specifications established to ensure its identity, strength, quality, and purity throughout the retest period or expiration dating period, as appropriate. (TR39)

    The chemical/biological fidelity of an analyte in a given solvent/matrix under specific conditions. (TR57)

  • Stability Profile

    The physical, chemical, biological, and microbiological behavior of a drug substance or drug product as a function of time when stored under the defined environmental conditions of an approved protocol. (TR39)

  • Storage Temperature

    The temperature range listed on the medicinal product label specified for long term storage. (TR39)

  • Sub-Contractor

    An individual or company hired by the transport service provider to perform the actual shipment. The shipper and the sub-contractor do not necessarily have a contractual agreement. (TR39)

  • Supply Chain

    The process by which a drug product is shipped and distributed from the manufacturer to the end user. (TR39)

  • Temperature Controlled

    The sequence of transportation events, from the manufacturer of the API up to the receipt of the final packaged product by the end user, which maintains temperature sensitive products within approved temperature specifications. Maintaining temperature control during these transportation events assures that product quality is maintained. (TR39)

  • Temperature Excursion

    Any event in which product is exposed to temperatures outside of the recommended storage and/or transport temperature range. (TR39)(TR58)

  • Temperature Profile

    Anticipated ambient temperature variation and duration to which product may be exposed during transportation. (TR39)

  • Temperature Sensitive Products

    Products whose quality may be adversely affected by temperature extremes (e.g., frozen, refrigerated, and certain controlled room temperature products). (TR39)

  • Tertiary Packaging Component

    A component that is used to assemble secondary or primary packages in the form of the basic transportation unit and to provide protection against mechanical impact. Examples are corrugated cardboard boxes, but corresponding plastic boxes/containers are also used. (TR39)

  • Transport Service Agreement

    A contractual agreement that describes the legal, logistical, technical and quality terms or contractual arrangements between shippers and transport services providers. Different names might be used for this type of agreement in different companies. (TR39)

  • Transport Service Provider

    Contracting party who mediates or executes the transportation of medicinal products on behalf of the shipper. (TR39)

  • Transportation Study

    Study performed to generate data to evaluate the effect of temperature variation on the product during transportation on product quality. Other test, such as vibration, pressure, and drop tests, may be considered. (TR39)