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Quality standards for widely used medicines strengthened
Date:3/21/2011

Rockville, Md., March 21, 2011 As part of its ongoing mission to protect public health, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) to update quality standards for widely used medicines and ingredients. Several years ago, USP put in place an ambitious, long-term effort to assess written (or documentary) standards for prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs published in the United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary (USPNF) compendia, aimed at stepping up the pace of revising test procedures where needed to reflect scientific advances. Coupled with this is USP's ongoing commitment to make available official USP Reference Standards (physical samples) for procedures described in documentary standards. The working relationships with FDA and CHPA fit into that overall initiative, focusing on an initial list of priority medicines and ingredients identified by FDA. The USPNF provides specifications for the identity, as well as quality, purity and strength of drugs and their ingredients, which are enforceable by FDA in the United States. USP standards are used in more than 130 countries.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., expressed support for USP's standards modernization project during her remarks at the USP Convention meeting in April of 2010, citing this effort as one of the most pressing tasks facing both USP and FDA given documented incidents of poor-quality prescription and OTC products. Updated test methodologies are crucial to help counter economically motivated adulteration (in which less expensive and potentially harmful ingredients are substituted for genuine medicines or their ingredients), and also to address the challenge of impurities that may go undetected with older, non-specific assays and tests.

"FDA and USP have a long-standing partnership in law that helps ensure the quality of the American drug supply,
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Contact: Laura Provan
lnp@usp.org
301-816-8268
US Pharmacopeia
Source:Eurekalert

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