The drug tablet consists of three components: a casing, a non-drug-containing polymer, and a polymer containing the drug in a specially designed shape (shown in photo) that determines the rate of release of the drug. (Photo: National University of Singapore)

Researchers have found a way to make personalized medicine cheaper and easier through a tablet fabrication system that 3D prints a myriad of pills in just one tablet. While there are existing tablet-production methods, they can only fabricate tablets that release drugs with a limited type of profiles. The new fabrication method can be applied at individualized settings where physicians could produce customized pills on the spot for patients, or in mass production settings by pharmaceutical companies.

Using the system, a doctor draws the desired release profile in software to generate a template for making tablets specific to a patient’s treatment, which can then be used to produce the desired pills using a 3D printer. The fabrication method can be modified to include multiple types of drugs loaded within the same tablet. Each drug can be customized to release at different rates even within the same tablet.