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The International Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Int.) constitutes a collection of recommended procedures for analysis and specifications for the determination of pharmaceutical substances, excipients, and dosage forms that is intended to serve as source material for reference or adaptation by any WHO Member State wishing to establish pharmaceutical requirements. The pharmacopoeia, or any part of it, shall have legal status, whenever a national or regional authority expressly introduces it into appropriate legislation. Further explanation or the role of The International Pharmacopoeia is provided in the paragraphs entitled "Scope and function" at the end of the Preface to Volumes 1 and 2 of this edition.
The history of The International Pharmacopoeia dates back to 1874 when the need to standardize terminology and to specify dosages and composition of drugs led to attempts to produce an international pharmacopoeial compendium.