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3D printing for drug manufacturing: A perspective on the future of pharmaceuticals

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Eric Lepowsky, Savas Tasoglu


Since a three-dimensional (3D) printed drug was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015, there has been a growing interest in 3D printing for drug manufacturing. There are multiple 3D printing methods – including selective laser sintering, binder deposition, stereolithography, inkjet printing, extrusion-based printing, and fused deposition modeling – which are compatible with printing drug products, in addition to both polymer filaments and hydrogels as materials for drug carriers. We see the adaptability of 3D printing as a revolutionary force in the pharmaceutical industry. Release characteristics of drugs may be controlled by complex 3D printed geometries and architectures. Precise and unique doses can be engineered and fabricated via 3D printing according to individual prescriptions. On-demand printing of drug products can be implemented for drugs with limited shelf life or for patient-specific medications, offering an alternative to traditional compounding pharmacies. For these reasons, 3D printing for drug manufacturing is the future of pharmaceuticals, making personalized medicine possible while also transforming pharmacies.


three-dimensional (3D) printing; drug dosing and delivery; drug release characteristics; hydrogels; personalized medicine

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