USP Timeline

View key dates and events in USP's rich and expansive history as a standards-setting organization and public health champion. To learn more, visit USP Information Center library collection and its archive of historical artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia.

  • 1820–1890


    A lack of uniformity in medical practices as well as a desire to demonstrate a young nation’s independence from Europe spurs the development of the first United States Pharmacopeia. The first USP is published on December, 21 1820.



    Members of the American Pharmaceutical Association publish the 1st National Formulary (NF) to standardize compound drugs.

  • 1900–2000


    USP incorporates and sets up a Board of Trustees. This establishes USP as a sustainable, non-profit organization with the goal of protecting public health.



    1906 Food and Drugs Act mandates that drugs meet the standards of strength, quality, and purity stipulated in the USP and NF.



    USP is tasked with distributing standards for vitamins A, B1, C, and D in the U.S.



    USP develops an insulin Reference Standard, which ensures continued production and access.



    The first edition of the International Pharmacopoeia is published. The compendia contains monographs for 200 drugs with nearly 80 percent of its content originating from the USP or British Pharmacopoeia.



    The USP is recognized in 27 countries and serves as the sole standard in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panama.



    USP and USAID begin a collaboration to implement and evaluate country-specific drug information resource programs in selected developing countries.



    The Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA) names USP and NF as official compendia for dietary supplements. Products that suppliers represent as confirming to USP standards may be deemed misbranded if they fail to conform.

  • 2000–Present


    USP and USAID create the Drug Quality and Information (DQI) program, focusing on improving the quality of medicines and their appropriate use in resource-limited countries.



    USP launches its Dietary Supplement Verification Program, followed by the Dietary Ingredient Verification Program (2004), and the Pharmaceutical Ingredient Verification Program (2006). These assure customers that the dietary and pharmaceutical ingredients are of the highest quality.



    To help thwart adulteration of the global heparin supply, USP works with regulators and industry to control potential impurities by revising monograph methods and introducing new Reference Standards.



    USP creates the Herbal Medicines Compendium, a freely available, online resource that provides standards for herbal ingredients used in herbal medicines.



    USP  and USAID celebrate twenty-five years of collaborating to help developing countries address critical issues related to medicines information and quality.