Mission & History
To improve global health through public standards and related programs that help ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicines and foods.
Learn about USP's rich and expansive history as a standards-setting organization and public health champion by visiting the timeline links below.
U.S. Pharmacopeia founded; all state societies of medicine invited to send delegates; 11 attended. USP created a system of standards, a system of quality control (formulae), and a national formulary. Only 217 drugs that met the criteria of "most fully established and best understood" were admitted.
Committee of Revision created (seven members); first revision of the USP published; revisions continue at 10-year intervals. Surgeons General of U.S. Army and Navy became first federal agencies to participate in USP revision.
Drug Import Act–Federal legislation recognizes the USP as an official compendium.
Colleges of pharmacy invited to participate in revision of the USP.
State Boards of Pharmacy formed; USP becomes a state board requirement.
USP incorporated in D.C. as not-for-profit corporation. U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention and Board of Trustees created.
Federal Food & Drugs Act: USP and NF strength, quality, and purity recognized as official standards.
Federal Food & Cosmetic Act: USP, NF, and Homeopathic Pharmacopeia standards of strength, quality, purity, packaging, and labeling recognized as official and enforced by FDA. "New Drug" concept established. FDA approves drugs for safety before marketing.
USP revision cycle changed; USP published every 5 years.
USP Board appointed Lloyd Miller to serve as Director of Revision in 1949, making him USP's first salaried employee.
After years of working out of the homes of its volunteers, USP purchased it first permanent headquarters on Park Avenue in New York City.
United States Adopted Names Council formed. Representatives from American Medical Association (AMA), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), USP, and FDA establish drug nomenclature.
USP moves its headquarters from New York City, eventually locating in Rockville, Maryland, USA.
USP adopts resolution calling for information to be provided to dispensers of drugs in United States. Position of executive director created, filled by William M. Heller, Ph.D.
USP acquires National Formulary and Drug Standards Laboratory from APhA.
USP and NF scope redefined: USP standards for drug substances and dosage forms; NF standards for excipients.
USP XX and the NF XV published under same cover; USP Dispensing Information, 1st Edition.
Jerome A. Halperin becomes USP executive director (title later changed to executive vice president and CEO) at the 1990 USP Convention. USP members adopt a resolution to explore establishing standards for vitamins and minerals.
Federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acts (OBRA '90 and '93) name the USP Drug Information as a source of information that state Medicaid agencies could use for drug utilization review, patient counseling, and medically accepted off-label uses of medicines.
USP signs an agreement with the American Medical Association to combine the information in AMA's Drug Evaluations database with the USP DI database to develop a single product that contains drug and therapeutic information.
USP members adopt a resolution to explore establishing standards for botanical dietary supplements.
The management-consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, recommended new USP focus, including divestiture of print and electronic drug information products.
USP sells USP DI and associated products to The Thomson Company and USP DI is published by their MICROMEDEX subsidiary. The new Reference Standard Center opens. MEDMARX®, an Internet-accessible medication errors reporting program for hospitals, is launched.
USP publishes final USP DI in three-volume format; publishes USP 24–NF 19; initiated modernization project for developing e-commerce capabilities and establishing electronic communications with constituents.
At the USP Convention in April 2000, Roger L. Williams, M.D., becomes USP executive vice president and CEO; members vote to change name of Committee of Revision to Council of Experts and elect chairpersons for 62 Expert Committees.
USP–NF published annually.
USP and the Chinese Pharmacopoeia Commission collaborate on hosting first joint symposium in China to discuss key scientific and pharmacopeial topics.
USP opens office in Basel, Switzerland.
USP opens first international laboratory facility in Hyderabad, India.
USP opens office and laboratory facility in Shanghai, China.
USP inaugurates new headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, USA.
USP houses its historical archives at the USP Information Center, located at its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. Learn more about the center and how you can view holdings and exhibits.