MIT Is Redesigning The Way We Manufacture Drugs

Published June 30th, 2016 by USA Rx
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley

The way companies manufacture drugs today is roughly the same as the way we manufactured them 200 years ago: in batches. If you think of drug manufacturing in terms of the long, complicated movie chemistry set where a colorful liquid boils out of a beaker into a series of glass tubes and Bunsen burners, you wouldn’t be too far off. Even in the largest pharmaceutical factories, it’s all a matter of combining chemicals under the right conditions, making sure they take the right shape as they crystalize, and then combining them with an inert powder to create a tablet or capsule.

However, MIT researchers are working on a way to change all that on the most fundamental level. By using recent advances in nanoscale manufacturing, the researchers have created a working prototype which can spit out 1000 pills in a day, the output of an entire factory accomplished by a machine the size of a household refrigerator.

There are two major implications to this machine’s existence. Firstly, this incredible miniaturization of the process means that pharmaceutical companies can produce more pills for less money no matter how complicated or involved the old process was. This can help bring the cost of medication down considerably.

Secondly, the fact that the machine is small enough to be portable and fit through an ordinary doorway means that we could potentially decentralize the manufacturing process. Instead of one central plant producing pills, every pharmacy could replace its bins and boxes of pills with a single machine that produces whatever their customers need on demand. Since one big reason why prescription drugs cost so much is the monopoly pharmaceutical companies hold over the manufacturing plants, costs could plummet once every pharmacy and hospital can create its own generics.

Still, we’re years away from seeing any commercial product come out of this invention, and for the time being the cost of medication is only going up, up, and up. Fortunately, the USA Rx pharmacy discount card is here to help: we can offer discounts of up to 75 percent off the price of prescription medication, and all we need from you to sign up is your name and an email address. We can also provide special branded cards for organizations who want to make use of our discount, including employers, volunteer groups, and healthcare providers. If you’d like to learn more, drop us a line at [email protected] or call us at 888-277-3911.

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