Just print it!

Posted by Matt Aspinall on 15-Sep-2016 12:30:00
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An area of technology that has particularly piqued my interest of late is that of 3D printing and how it has the potential to revolutionise so many different industries. This got me thinking and researching to see how the pharmaceutical industry has taken to the notion and to what effect has it been used.

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Early adoption of 3D printing centred on more traditional manufacturing sectors such as aerospace and engineering where the ability to prototype or model products and components had obvious time and cost savings. Medical device manufacturers were also early into the game where it has been used successfully to create custom prosthetics and dental implants for a number of years now.

To date however, 3D printing has played a very small role in healthcare, though this is predicted to grow 15 fold over the next 10 years. This is massive and the role that 3D printing technology could play should not be underestimated.

A very interesting article by Eugene Borukhovich entitled ‘How 3D printing will change the pharmaceutical world forever’ cites 4 very interesting ways it could.

Of particular interest to me was its potential application in relation to personalized drug dosing and how this could enhance a Doctor / Patient interaction. Imagine as a patient being able to visit your Health Care Professional and leave with your optimal medication dose based on your own specific needs, or receive a combination of drugs, printed into one singe pill – amazing!

We are likely many years off from such a scenario, with a number of investment / safety and security concerns needing to be addressed. If like me however, you remember firing up your dot matrix printer attached to your BBC B Micro, to print off your pocket money summary, then you can’t help but being a little bit excited about the possibilities.

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About the author

Matt is an experienced operations professional with over 15 years experience in the startup and SME sector.

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