QR Codes May Innovate Pharmaceutical Production

The mass production of medicine may soon be a method of the past, a study published by the International Journal of Pharmaceutics suggests.

Advancements in technology have allowed researchers to develop a new method for producing medicine, which involves printing medical drugs in the form of a QR code onto an edible white material.

Researchers have been developing innovative pharma breakthroughs for the past few decades, as the knowledge of medicine and its effect on the body continues to grow. Yet, mass production of medicine limits this by administering most patients identical products and doses.

By utilizing new technology that prints each drug individually, the medication will be customized to meet the needs of each patient, rather than mass produced, according to the study.

“This technology is promising, because the medical drug can be dosed exactly the way you want it to. This gives an opportunity to tailor the medication according to the patient getting it,” said study author Natalja Genina, PhD.

This new method may also decrease the use of wrong or fake medication. The unique shape of each QR code allows the medication data to be self-stored right on the edible material, according to the authors.

“Simply doing a quick scan, you can get all the information about the pharmaceutical product. In that sense it can potentially reduce cases of wrong medication and fake medicine,” Dr Genina said.

The authors said that regular printers will soon be capable of printing QR coded medicine, which would allow the widespread use of this method. This would enable the on-demand printing of medicine by health care providers. The edible material will still require mass production, according to the study.

“If we are successful with applying this production method to relatively simple printers, then it can enable the innovative production of personalized medicine and rethinking of the whole supply chain,” said study author Jukka Rantanen, PhD.

The researchers plan to refine their new production method to ensure it is cost-effective and can benefit a widespread number of patients. 

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