An overview is presented of the impact of chromatographic method developments on the quality control of pharmaceuticals as of the 1950s up until the present times. This survey is mainly based on the changes in pharmacopeias starting with United States Pharmacopeia (USP) 16, issued in 1960, up to the presently effective USP 34 and European Pharmacopeia 7.2. At the beginning of this period the role of chromatographic methods was negligible and was restricted to classical column chromatography and paper chromatography. However, the invention of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) initiated a rapid paradigm shift in the attitude toward, and the use of, chromatographic methods. As a result, HPLC began a "career" of rapid spreading and development, and by now has undoubtedly become the principal method in pharmaceutical analysis. Likewise, the role of thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and to a lesser extent gas chromatography is also remarkable. The role of these and electrophoretic methods in the identification, assay and purity check of drugs and drug products in the modern pharmacopeias is discussed. As a case study the stability investigation of Depersolone® injection carried out in the 1960s and 35 years later is presented and the information obtainable from the classical and modern approach is compared.