What is the BP?

The BP has been providing official standards for medicines since 1864, and provides the only comprehensive collection of authoritative official standards for UK pharmaceutical substances and medicinal products, including all the monographs and texts of the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.).

Pharmacopoeias that have legal status within the UK are the British Pharmacopoeia (BP), including the BP (Veterinary), and the Ph. Eur. The BP is published every year in August, and becomes legally effective on January 1st of the following year. 

You can order your copy of the BP 2024 today.

What we do

The BP makes an important contribution to the role of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in protecting public health by providing quality standards for UK pharmaceutical substances and medicinal products. It is a vital reference tool for all individuals and organisations involved in pharmaceutical:

  • research
  • development
  • manufacture
  • quality control and analysis

The BP has a wide international reach and:

  • is used in over 100 countries
  • forms an inherent part of established medicines legislation in Commonwealth countries
  • provides expert advice to the European Pharmacopoeia and plays a significant role in the standard-setting process in Europe
  • provides expert advice to the World Health Organization
  • has strong links with leading world pharmacopoeias, ensuring the quality of medicines is always at the forefront of international discussion

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What does the BP contain?

The BP includes:

  • general notices (providing general information applicable to all texts)
  • general monographs (apply to all dosage forms)
  • specific monographs providing mandatory standards for:
    • active pharmaceutical ingredients
    • excipients
    • formulated preparations (licensed and unlicensed products)
    • herbal drugs, herbal drug products and herbal medicinal products
    • materials for use in the manufacture of homoeopathic preparations
    • blood-related products
    • immunological products
    • radiopharmaceutical preparations
  • infrared reference spectra
  • appendices
  • supplementary chapters (providing additional guidance)
  • comprehensive index

What does the BP (Veterinary) contain?

The BP (Veterinary) is published as a companion volume to the British Pharmacopoeia. It contains standards for substances and products used solely in the practice of veterinary medicine in the UK.

The BP (Vet) also incorporates monographs and texts of the European Pharmacopoeia.

What does the European Pharmacopoeia contain?

The European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.) is published by the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare.

The European Pharmacopoeia Commission is responsible for the publication of the Ph. Eur. The UK is a member of the European Pharmacopoeia Commission and is involved at all stages of Ph. Eur. monograph development.

Browse the BP

If you have a licence or subscription with us, you can browse the BP today. If you would like to purchase a subscription or licence, please visit our shop page.

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About the BP Publication