3D printers could let you produce your own drugs

You might imagine that drug production only happens at gigantic pharma corporations with millions of dollars worth of equipment. However, researchers at the University of Glasgow have unveiled a new process of building "reactionware," or small reactors that can produce drugs, using a $2,000 off-the-shelf 3D printer, Science reports. The new process makes it possible for anyone to fabricate drugs, allowing doctors in developing nations to quickly produce medicines to curtail outbreaks, or even let you produce your own ibuprofen at home.

The process sounds fairly simple when you describe it, but it took the researchers nearly six years to get to this point. Using the 3D printer, the team built various water-bottle sized vessels that can carry out four different chemical reactions in 12 steps, including filter and evaporation. These essentially become miniature reaction factories, allowing pharmacists or doctors to create specific drugs by adding solvents and reagents at specific times in the process.The chemicals themselves ...