PDA Letter Article

The Pharmacopeia in the 21st Century

by Susanne Keitel, PhD, EDQM

Pharmacopeias Move to Modernize in Changing Times

Maintaining a comfortable state of health has always been a major human preoccupation. By the dawn of the first millennium, this was manifested in De Materia Medica, generally considered to be the earliest example of a pharmacopoeia. This treatise compiled contemporary tried and tested herbal and other remedies, methods for their preparation and their effects on patients. Fast forward two thousand years and the world has changed entirely and, with it, attitudes about health and well-being. Today, healthcare is dominated by a vast and powerful pharmaceutical industry that is closely regulated by an equally vast and powerful network of national and international legislation and guidance, including global pharmacopeias.