A pharmacopoeia is a collection of official standards for pharmaceutical substances and medicinal products. It includes directions for the quality control tests to be carried out on medicines and the raw materials used in production. It is a vital reference for individuals and organisations involved in research, development, manufacture, and quality control of medicines.
In most countries there is an official pharmacopoeia and all producers of medicines and/or substances for pharmaceutical use must comply with its quality/safety standards. In Europe, the European Pharmacopoeia provides the legal and scientific basis for quality control during development, production and marketing of medicines in European member states.