3D printing could soon be used to make cheap and plentiful medicines following a landmark decision from the United States.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has for the first time approved the use of 3D printing in the manufacturing of medicines with Spritam, which is taken orally as part of prescription adjunctive therapy in the treatment of epilepsy,
The drug uses ZipDose powder-liquid three-dimensional printing (3DP) technology from American firm Aprecia, which creates premeasured, spill-proof unit-doses designed to disintegrate in the mouth with a sip of liquid.
ZipDose allows the drug to rapidly disintegrate within just ten seconds, meaning that the medicine can get to work quickly, and also offers a wide range of taste-masking options to ensure the dose is nicer to take.
Healthcare has long been named as being one of the main industries that could benefit from utilising 3D printing, due to its need to create personalised items for every patient.
In 2014, analyst firm Gartner predicted that cheaper 3D printers with ‘plug and print’ functionality will cause shipments to double every year between 2015 and 2018.
Around 108,151 3D printers were shipped during 2014, a figure which is set to increase to 217,350 by 2015 and will reach 2.3 million units within four years, creating a $13.4bn market.
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