Future Pills To Be "Printed", Made-To-Order

May 27, 2010


Pills: I don't mess with them. I don't even like taking Tums but I have to or my ass might blow itself out in the middle of the night. I'm being serious.

Here's a dirty little secret about the little pills you pop: nearly 99.9 percent of the tablet is useless. Only a thousandth of a pill contains the active ingredients that are supposed to make you feel better....The rest of the pill is just filler so it's large enough for you to pick it up.

If you think that sounds wasteful, you're not alone. Researchers at the University of Leeds, Durham University, and GlaxoSmithKline have teamed up to create pills that are made to order, or perhaps I should "printed to order."

Printing pills means literally printing the active ingredients of a medication onto the side of a tablet. To understand the concept of "printing," think of the active ingredients as tiny droplets that can be printed onto a surface the way ink is printed onto paper, but instead of paper, it's a tablet. That means pills could be individually made for each patient to fit their medical needs and one pill could potentially hold more than one type of medication.

The idea is that eventually you'll be able to order "custom" pills that have all the medications you need to take included in the same tablet. That way you don't have to take a handful everyday. Which, God -- get a spoonful of sugar already!

Pills Printed Specifically for You [discover]

Thanks to Melissa, who wants her made-to-order pills with a side of waffle fries. Mmmm -- good choice, Melissa.

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