We are living in the time of 3D printers. On a table top with the right equipment, you could make almost anything from guns to heart valves. What about medications?
A chemist at the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom named Leroy Cronin asked this same question. What if people could have the ability to make their prescriptions in the comfort of their own kitchen? With 3D printing technology, simple chemical compounds could be made, proved Cronin in a Nature Chemistry paper. In disbelief, his critics doubted that something as complex as drugs could be synthesized this way.
However, a few days ago Cronin and colleagues proved naysayers wrong. A printer small enough to fit on a table was presented, with a few water bottle sized reactors within. It was demonstrated by creating a few pharmaceuticals including one that fights acid reflux and ulcers.
With great power comes great responsibility.
Chemical engineer & 3D printing expert at CSIRO Manufacturing, Christian Hornung warns that it is a concern that dangerous drugs could be synthesized in this way in the future.
If the award winning Breaking Bad series was filmed ten years from now, maybe the show would have been vastly different for Walter and Jesse with a methamphetamine printer.