A 3D printer in every pharmacy? That day may come sooner than you might think, as researchers and pharmaceuticals companies explore the possibilities of 3D printing on-demand custom drugs. One pharmaceutical scientist at University College London foresees a day when pharmacists will purchase polymer inks pre-loaded with a drug that they would then print out in the form of pills, as needed. That's down the road a piece, but what you will be seeing fairly soon—later this year, in fact, if all goes according to plan—are 3D-printed drugs designed to improve patient adherence from Aprecia Pharmaceuticals (Langhorne, PA).
Aprecia's ZipDose technology adapts 3D-printing technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create fast-melt products. Also called orodispersable drugs that instantly dissolve in the mouth, the technology combines the precise, convenient dosing of tablets with the swallowing ease of liquids.