• Manoj Swaminathan

PV - Is it only Pharmacovigilance?

Updated: Aug 11

Having been in the drug safety industry for 13+ years, I still have the apprehension to use 'PV' and prefer to use the abbreviation 'PHV' to denote Pharmacovigilance. Notably, there is some history to it.

Until I joined medical school, I never had the opportunity to use the abbreviation 'PV'. In the first year, we were taught by our Physiology Professor that PV refers to Polycythemia Vera. Coincidently that was the era when the solar industry was booming, and so was the concept of Photovoltaic Cells (PV) system. However, I continued to believe that PV refers to Polycythemia Vera, and that belief was shortlived, i.e., 2.5 years. I was then exposed to Obstetrics and Gynaecology. This time we were taught by our Gynaecology professor that in the entire medical field, PV refers to only one thing, and that is, and shall always remain 'Per Vaginum'. I was very comfortable to buy that 'thought', as all my Seniors at the medical school seconded this (In Medical Schools, Seniors are considered as Guru or God). For the next five years, I was very comfortable to refer 'PV' to the one and only one term that I had last learnt. I then undertook my MPH dissertation on Pharmacovigilance, where the only PV was a part of the abbreviation NPVP, the erstwhile National Pharmacovigilance Programme. The greatest nightmare was when I entered the Pharmacovigilance industry, where most of my Pharmacist and other non-medical colleagues referred to it as 'PV'. Gradually I could find my Physician colleagues starting to refer to it as 'PV'. However, I continued to get embarrassed using this abbreviation.

In one of my previous companies, while addressing the whole company, our CMD mentioned that he is pleased with the great work done by PV Team I was thrilled and started blushing. However, my smile was only short-lived, when my manager clarified this company denotes it to the Process Validation (PV) activity, which is attributed to cGMP. It has been 13+ years now, and I still hesitate to use this abbreviation. I prefer to use PHV or PCV or even go the extra mile and pronounce the whole word, rather than use 'this' abbreviation. However, there have been some unavoidable situations, especially when a department name necessarily needs to be denoted using two (2) alphabets, or when there are space constraints. Rest assured, I have no regrets in doing so.