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- 04/10/2017

The 3Rs of 3D Printing: FDA’s Role

Pharma Horizon

When it comes to 3D printing, you might say that the future is already here.

Right now, manufacturers use 3D printing to create devices matched to a patient’s anatomy (called “patient-specific” devices) as well as devices with very complex internal structures. These capabilities have sparked huge interest in the 3D printing of medical devices and other products, including food, household items, and automotive parts.

And since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health, the agency is reviewing these 3D printed products—and researching them—to make sure they are safe and effective for the public.

So how are these products used? Well, 3D printed medical devices can help doctors better visualize complex health cases. This process can be used to make patient-specific medical devices (yes, we’re talking about “personalized medicine”). Because of its versatility, 3D printing also has medical applications for FDA-regulated drugs and biologics. Plus, the FDA is studying this technology to better understand it when conducting those medical product reviews—and to offer guidance to manufacturers.


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