Last Updated 17 Dec 2022

In “The Pharmacy of The Future? – 3D Printing

Category 3d printing, Pharmacy
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Personalized Pills, 3D Printed at Home” published on TED Talks in Jun 2018, Daniel Kraft expressed in his TED talk that the 3D printer will improve the way people get prescribed medication considering the technological advances we now have. He also comments about how people are spending to much money on medicine, or simply not taking the right dosage of medication. Kraft’s main argument lies within this machine that can calculate and dispense the perfect dosage to your body in any given day(Kraft 2018). Kraft also expresses these 3-D printers can be programmed by a doctor and hopes that soon they will be reduced in size and placed in individual homes. At the ending of the TED talk, Kraft was asked a question as to when the machine will be ready, and he did his best to avoid answering the question. Although there are many holes in Kraft’s argument, I will only be focusing on the top three results that he gave us, and how they are not enough to substantiate his claims to prove the device works and will benefit all people later in life.

The Real-Life Vitals

The purpose of Kraft’s TED talk was to inform the audience the benefits of medical 3D printing at home, along with micro meds, can be “optimized”(Kraft 2018) to fit the individual’s needs. One of the faulty results Kraft provides us with was his real-life vitals. Although, the device he used on stage during the TED talk was not a device created by him, it raises the question on how reliable his device will be in giving us accurate results to make a pill? Kraft needs to provide enough evidence as to how his device will guarantee the audience an accurate reading considering it is making something that they will be consuming.

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When it comes to health, most people check what is in their medication, they read the drug warnings and side effects, they are aware of what is put into their bodies so having a system at home that is supposed to take those worries away should come with full proof that it will work. It also raises the questions as to which kind of hospitals, doctors, or nursing homes can use this technology, or have appropriate resources to successfully keep communication via technology with their doctors. Whether the device be stuck to your chest, around your wrist, on your phone, or put into your everyday jewelry, there is always a chance an error might occur. Khader et. Al (2017) exclams “clinical data repositories maintained by hospitals have limited access to health monitoring data from personalized health-monitoring devices or vice versa,” which proves my point Kraft needs to provide relevant data detailing the current and/or future technological advances hospitals, doctors, and nursing homes are doing to prepare for the 3D printers.

The Study Which Pertains to a Certain Age Group

Although I understand why Kraft presented the audience with results of polypill studies from the crossover trail narrowing the reduce risk results to age limit 50 and above. Like he said in his TED talk, “so instead of taking six medications, I can integrate it into one,” and we know it is common that some older people tend to need more than one medication to remain healthy. The trail blatantly limits Kraft’s audience to a certain age group and provides no supporting data on other age groups. A study he should provide the audience results for is one that demonstrates what the machine can make for specific age groups such as pills small enough for children to swallow that reduces risk of fever, pills reducing the risk of migraines, or other common daily problems people face.

Kraft needs to fix this inconsistency in his argument by providing data that explains the risks of the polypill for all age groups. The risks do not just include our reduce risk to heart attack and stroke, although it does occur more in older individuals, younger individuals are at risk also, so studies need to include all the factors of all ages.

The Unanswered Question

At the end of the TED talk, Kraft gets asked by the host a question that he redirects from answering. He gets asked “how long until that nursing home patient gets to print pills in their own home?” which Kraft proceeds to answer that question by explaining why nursing homes would be suitable for these 3D printers. The response he gave the host was a spectacle of redirects avoiding the answer altogether. Kraft need’s to be able to have the answers ready beforehand so his argument can be better substantiated. Given the fact that Kraft is promoting the 3D prototype printer, I would assume him to have a set date or an estimate on when the product can be made available for nursing homes, hospitals, or consumer needs. If Kraft were to show data showing the incline for 3D printer in today’s technological age, he can make his argument more solid by providing data estimates on when the product will be finalized.

Other Ways to Look at the Argument(Counter)

When it comes to the topic of 3D printing of medication at home, most of us will readily agree that “3D printing has become more widely used by medical device manufactures and hospitals”(Furlow 2017). Where this argument usually ends, however, is on the question of whether the 3D printer will be effective enough to do all that Kraft is arguing. Whereas some are convinced that 3D printers are the thing of the future and they will help with our over health, others maintain that 3D printers are only limited to do so much and cannot replace our current health care ways. They say back in 2015 the FDA(Federal Drug Administration) approved its first ever 3D printed drug to help with epilepsy and it was significant because it showed a medicine can be produced commercially using 3D printing(“Spritam(levetiracetam)” n.d.).

We are given data that the 3D printer has already been used on one specific type of treatment. 3D printers weren’t made with the intention of making actual products, only prototypes(Furlow 2017) so the advancements the printer has gotten is remarkable. The 3D printer has had many uses over the years and it does have a reputation to do amazing things so the possibilities it can bring to our health and our daily lives is something needing more examination of. In an article by Ahmed Zidan called “CDER Researchers Explore the Promise and Potential of 3D Printed Pharmaceuticals,” he claims 3D printing devices have been used to produce medical devices for nearly a decade. Zidan also confirmed the fact that the FDA has approved around 200 3D-printed devices that can be tailored to fit a patients’ anatomy(2017).

As I suggested earlier, defenders of the 3D printer can’t have it both ways. Their assertion is contradicted by their claim that “existing or modified regulatory oversight practices might suffice to ensure patient safety”(Furlow 2017). Patients’ safety is key to the whole process, so Kraft needs to give more results onto how his 3D printer can give safe results to the users who will be using the device as a daily medication prescriber.

Why Daniel Kraft’s Argument Needs to Be Corrected

Daniel Kraft’s argument in “The Pharmacy of The Future? Personalized Pills, 3D Printed at Home” needs to be revised because he made very solid points in his arguments and if he wants to reach every audience member, he needs to correct the inconsistencies in his argument and provide more data or statistics that would improve our over-all attitude toward the 3D printer. This discovery will have significant applications into the most important reason why revision needs to happen is because after watching the TED talk multiple times, you understand what he is intending with his prototype, but he don’t have enough statistical data to provide us with real time evidence that his current prototype works. Ultimately, what is at stake here if revision don’t happen and there is no data input to back up Kraft’s claims, the audience will not see how his design can potentially improve the way we receive medicines in the future.

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