A team at the University of Glasgow are working on a printer able to create downloadable pharmaceuticals.
The idea is still in its fledgling stages, but a pharmaceutical 3D printer would be loaded with simple molecules that would allow it to easily handle carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, plus vegetable oils, paraffin, and other common pharmaceutical ingredients. Cronin told the Guardian that with a relatively small number of “inks,” “you can make any organic molecule.”
So what are the advantages of printable drugs? For one thing, it lets you create modular drugs tweaked to individuals. Where it might not be worthwhile to manufacture custom drugs on a wide scale, having pharmaceuticals that are printed off in smaller batches would give people access to drugs that are aligned with their unique biochemistry. And there’s the portability of manufacture; suddenly, you’d be able to manufacture any drug anywhere in the world.