The world of pharmaceuticals is a vast and significant one. Its industry is primarily responsible for our health. Without it, we wouldn’t have existed and thrived as a species. Over millennia, we have found ways to improve our tools. Some of our improvements have reached the realm of pharmaceuticals. Modern medicine is being produced at a much faster rate, as seen with the vaccines against the COVID-19 virus. These advancements are among the biggest factors why the pharmaceutical industry is generating billions of dollars every year. This is why such an industry continues to grow. Here are examples of how advances in science and technology are improving the way we make medicine today.
Streamlining the Process
The manufacturing of medicine is no easy task. There are a lot of things to consider, such as the quality of the medicine being made. One of the essential things that need to be checked is their solubility.
Much of modern medicine can be consumed orally or by contact with the skin. However, years ago, obtaining the results from examinations done using special dissolution testing equipment could take many days. But because of advancements in science and technology, dissolution testing has become streamlined, making the process of testing modern medicines much faster. Different equipment can analyze multiple medications and give an accurate reading of their solubility to determine whether if they are effective or not. This process has made various medications more widely available.
For those in dire need of unique medicine made for them because of varying reasons (e.g., mutations in the DNA leading to resistance against generic medicine), personalized medicine is becoming more of the norm.
Before, we took generic medicine without knowing if it will have some effect on our bodies or not. It was found that a few individuals in a given population have resistance against over-the-counter medicine. In some situations, they also have resistance against prescribed medication. It was hard to treat these individuals because it was impossible to find medicine that would work for them. Thankfully, our advancements in understanding DNA and RNA strains have improved through the years. This has given us the chance to create medicine that would work on people with inherent resistance to today’s medicine.
Currently, programs for personalized medicine are still in the testing stage. This means only a given amount of people can have this treatment. In some situations, it can be quite costly. However, the more we improve our healthcare systems to cater to this kind of treatment, the more widely available they become to the general population.
3D Printed Medicine
3D printing is one of the best inventions of the 21st century. It has made it possible for us to manufacture various products even faster. One of these products is medicine.
3D-printed medicine is still on its initial trial page, but the FDA has already approved some of these innovations. One example is Spritam, which is used to treat epilepsy. It is an oral medication that can dissolve in 11 seconds, which is the average dissolution time of much of the modern medicine we have right now. There are no known side effects in 3D printing medicine, but known side effects could occur because of the ingredients.
Although 3D printing is much cheaper and faster to do, we are still not aware of the other variables coming into play. Currently, the FDA is taking steps to test this particular method of manufacturing medicine and see whether if it is beneficial for manufacturing medicine or not.
Medications are becoming more effective and healthier to consume every day. Right now, there are talks of replacing generic drugs with biosimilar medicine. These kinds of medications have been known to kill cancer cells and stimulate our immune systems. Compared with generic medicine, they are also much healthier, too, because they are not made of chemicals. The components of biosimilar medicine are made with a natural and organic source, such as yeast and bacteria. These are materials we are known to digest without known side effects. However, there is a chance that those who are allergic to these materials might have problems consuming these particular medications.
The FDA is currently looking into biosimilar medicine to see whether they can be used interchangeably with generic medications. Once it is approved, biosimilar medicine will be available to the public.
The advancements in science and technology have made medicine production safer and faster to do. It has also become healthier for us to consume. Further advancements will lead to cheaper and better-quality medicine in the future.