Magistral Compounding with 3D Printing: A Promising Way to Achieve Personalized Medicine

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Magistral compounding has always been an integral part of pharmacy practice. The increasing demand worldwide for personalized drug treatments might be accommodated by an increase in magistral compounding. The new, flexible technology of 3D medicine printing could advance this process even further. However, the issue of how 3D medicine printing can be implemented within the existing magistral compounding infrastructure has not been explored.

To investigate how 3D printing can be integrated into the existing compounding system by taking regulatory, economic, and profession-oriented aspects into account.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with relevant Dutch stakeholders representing various health institutions, such as health ministries and boards, professional bodies, and different types of pharmacies. Participants were identified through purposeful sampling. Content analysis was applied to identify the main themes.

A total of 15 Dutch stakeholders were interviewed. It was found that the prevalence of compounding in community pharmacies in the Netherlands has decreased as a result of the practice shifting to specialized compounding pharmacies due to higher costs, lack of space, and the need to fulfill quality requirements. All interviewees considered 3D printing to be a promising compounding technique for community pharmacies, as it offers an automated approach with high digital flexibility and enables adapted formulations, including ‘polypills.’ Regulatory and quality assurance challenges were considered comparable to those of normal magistral products; however, there remain pending regulatory issues regarding quality control, particularly for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients containing intermediate feedstock materials (e.g., prefilled cartridges) in 3D printing. 3D printing was believed to become cost effective over time.

In the Netherlands, specialized compounding pharmacies have largely taken over compounding activities. 3D printing could be introduced within this system; however, challenges regarding how to regulate prefilled cartridges have yet to be addressed. Compounding using 3D printing in regular community pharmacies could enhance patients’ individualized treatment; however, this activity would require incentives to stimulate the return of compounding to normal pharmacy practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Innovation & Regulatory Science
Pages (from-to)26–36
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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