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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 #

  • Cold Chain Tolerance Groups

    This concept expands the “normal” definition of cold chain to include all products that need to be stored below 250C and also introduces the ancillary terms “ambient temperatures” and “controlled ambient”. (TR46)

  • Common Carrier

    Transportation available to the public that does not provide special treatment to any one party and is regulated as to the rates charged, the liability assumed, and the service provided. A common carrier must obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Federal Trade Commission for interstate traffic. (TR46)

  • Comparability

    The quality or state of being suitable for comparison. FDA may determine that two products are comparable if the results of the comparability testing demonstrate that a manufacturing change does not affect identity, strength, quality, purity, or potency as they may relate to the safety or effectiveness of the product. (TR38)

  • Continuous Monitoring

    A mechanism by which temperature is regulated and recorded without interruption. It is recommended that if the system is not alarmed, it must be checked at predetermined time intervals. The time intervals should be determined by the facility but should be adequate enough to provide meaningful data of the temperature change over time. (TR46)

    A process of data collection in which conditions are monitored continuously throughout the operation. In most U.S. applications, this definition implies “during production.” (TR13)

  • Customer

    In distribution, the trading partner or reseller, and In direct-to-consumer, the end customer or user (TR46)

  • Downstream

    Refers to the demand side of the supply chain. Downstream consists of one or more companies or individuals who participate in the flow of goods and services moving from the manufacturer to the final user or consumer. This is the opposite of upstream. (TR46)

  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

    Refers to a legislative requirement that packaging manufacturers “take back” their packaging, or otherwise ensure (through a tax) that it is collected and properly disposed of. (TR46)

  • International Standards Organization (ISO) Container

    ISO containers are shipping containers manufactured according to specifications from the International Standards Organization. They may also be referred to as “sea containers” or “inter-modal” containers. (TR46)

  • Mean Kinetic Temperature (MKT)

    The single calculated temperature at which the total amount of degradation over a particular period is equal to the sum of the individual degradations that would occur at various temperatures. Thus, MKT may be considered as an isothermal storage temperature that simulates the nonisothermal effects of storage temperature variation. It is not a simple arithmetic mean. (TR46) (TR58)

  • Pedigree, e-pedigree

    A pedigree is a record, containing information regarding each transaction, resulting in a change of ownership of a prescription drug, from sale by a manufacturer, through acquisition and sale by a wholesaler, until final sale to a pharmacy or person furnishing, administering or dispensing the prescription drug. (TR46)

  • Peltier Device

    Peltier devices are small, solid-state ceramic and doped-semiconductor sandwiches designed to function in small cooling and heating applications. The devices can be “stacked” for greater cooling/heating but do draw considerable power. The advantage of these devices is that there are no moving parts, no maintenance, no refrigerant gasses, no noise, and no vibration. Disadvantages may include: high cost, fragility, and scalability, in addition to the aforementioned high power draw. (TR46)

  • Phase Change Material (PCM)

    A physical material that stores and releases thermal energy when freezing or melting. A PCM releases energy when freezing [latent heat energy] and absorbs energy when melting. (TR46)

  • Qualified Shipping Packaging

    Packaging that has been subjected to document testing that demonstrates with a high degree of assurance that a specific process will meet its predetermined acceptance criteria. Due to the “real world” nature of transportation, a qualified process may change over time, requiring appropriate monitoring. (TR46)

  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

    Is an automatic technique for identifying objects using radio frequency transmissions. An RFID system generally consists of a tag, reader, antenna, and software. An RFID tag is simply another type of data carrier. Essentially, tags compromise a semiconductor chip with memory, processing capability and a transmitter connected to an antenna (aerial). (TR46)

    RFID is a method commonly used in retail of single directional data transfer from an identification tag (e.g., a data logger) to a stationary gateway or scanner; it is not to be confused with real-time monitoring. (TR58)

  • Reverse Logistics

    The process of planning, implementing and controlling the efficient, cost-effective flow of raw materials, in-process inventory, finished goods and related information from the point of consumption to the point of origin for the purpose of recapturing value or proper disposal. (TR46)

  • Shipping Lane

    An established route of transportation between a specific point of origin to a specific destination. More defined routes will consistently use the same combination and types of transportation vehicles and transfer procedures, but this may not be observed through all shipping lanes throughout the last mile. (TR46)

    Lane described by origin, transportation node(s) and destination in combination with the used transport mode(s) (truck, aircraft, etc.). (TR58)

  • The Last Mile

    This is a multidimensional cross-industry term that defines a point in the supply chain where the product or service directly faces the customer, end user or patient. (TR46)