An anonymous reader writes: Between the cost of doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and medication, it can sometimes feel like the treatment of a condition is as painful as the condition itself. But one man has a solution for the cost of medication – he has developed a 3-D printer that can print it out. Lee Cronin, a professor at Glasgow University, calls it a “chemputer.” When he heard about 3-D printers, which now can print things as diverse as toys, food, and body parts, he wondered if it could be used to print pharmaceuticals. He assembled a 45-person team and set to work.
He admits that the technology is in its infancy, but its ramifications could completely revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry. He and his team use a $1,800 printer that they have outfitted to perform chemistry. The machine uses bathroom sealant to print material of specific dimensions, connected with tubes of various lengths and diameters. When the tube became hard, the printer can inject it with “inks” to create chemical reactions.