// August 04, 2015

What is the U.S. Pharmacopeia?

What is USP

You may not know about the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), but chances are you’ve been positively impacted by our activities. Here are some facts about who we are, what we do, and what it means to you.

FACT: USP is the only independent, not-for-profit, nongovernmental pharmacopeia in the world.

USP sets quality, purity, strength, and identity standards for medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements. We achieve this through publication of documentary standards (also known as monographs) in our primary reference text, the USP-NF, and by developing USP Reference Standards (also known as physical standards)— used by manufacturers to test their products against our standards to ensure they meet published specifications.

Many of our standards are enforceable by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under US law, but our independent status means our standards-setting activities are guided only by impartial, empirical, scientific evidence, and public health concerns.

FACT: USP is a volunteer organization

Our Council of Experts and Expert Committee volunteer members come from academia, health care, governmental agencies, the veterinary sciences, the pharmaceutical, herbal medicines, and dietary supplements industries, and retail pharmacies. Our members generously volunteer their time to help ensure your medicines, food ingredients, and supplements meet good-quality standards.

We also rely on donated proposed and revised standards and bulk materials to help shape our core standards-setting activities. These donations, plus the expertise of our volunteer members, are the lifeblood of USP.

FACT: USP is global.

USP maintains offices in China, India, Brazil, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Switzerland. This global reach enables us to provide assistance on everything from laboratory quality control, to pharmaceutical training, to preventing the introduction of poor-quality medicines in the marketplace, to giving critical technical assistance in developing countries. We also provide meaningful opportunities for international collaboration. Through these efforts, we stay true to our mission to improve global public health.

FACT: USP is verifying your dietary supplements.

In addition to publishing the Dietary Supplements Compendium—which provides quality standards for the production of dietary supplements—USP provides supplement manufacturers the opportunity to subject their products to the strict scrutiny of our USP Verified Program. A supplement that passes our stringent quality requirements is awarded the USP Verified Mark. The USP Verified Mark confirms the supplement actually contains the ingredients listed on the label and does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants, among other quality indicators.

Learn More about pharmacopeias

Visit the following to gain more pharmacopeial insights: