3D Printing the Master Pill


Depending on your perspective, one of the fortunate or unfortunate realities of getting older or recovering from a traumatic health event is a reliance on pharmaceuticals. Along with the recovery or preventative measures associated with these medications, is the need to ensure the dosages are properly managed, which is not always an easy task for the patient.

In an effort to improve this dynamic, a new 3D printer could give pharmacies the ability to produce a single pill containing customized dosage amounts of multiple medicines. The toaster-sized AutoCompounder 3D printer was created by Rhode Island-based Vitae Industries. In addition to printing traditional powder-based pills, the machine can also create gummies.

Combining multiple medications into a single pill not only offers a convenience factor for patients, but helps pharmacies operate more efficiently by reducing its inventory. Also, instead of having patients take half of a tablet, for example, the correct dosage is simply incorporated into the specially-created, personalized pill. Custom pills can reportedly be created in as little as 10 minutes.

The AutoCompounder also cleans itself between printings to eliminate cross-contamination. And although the machine is being kept under wraps, Vitae has received over $2 million in equity funding. The printers are expected to retail for $5,000 with a limited pilot program release starting in the first quarter of 2018.

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