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3D printing will stir ethics, regulation debate, Gartner predicts

The rise in 3D printing must lead to a debate regarding ethics and regulation of the fast-rising industry

By Michael Hatamoto | Jan 29, 2014 04:09 pm CST

The 3D printing movement will see a strong boost from the biopharmaceutical industry, and that will bring about ethical and moral issues that need to be sorted out. Major ethical debates will likely take place by 2016, according to research firm Gartner, as developing nations and emerging markets should drive 3D demand.


Companies that have the ability to print human tissue and organs, for example, are well-intentioned, but there is very little medical precedent.

"3D bioprinting facilities with the ability to print human organs and tissue will advance far faster than general understanding and acceptance of the ramifications of this technology," claims Pete Basiliere, Gartner Research Director, in a statement. "These initiatives are well-intentioned, but raise a number of questions that remain unanswered. What happens when complex 'enhanced' organs involving nonhuman cells are made? Who will control the ability to produce them? Who will ensure the quality of the resulting organs?"

As 3D printing continues to increase, with increased health and biopharma implications, the debate needs to begin sooner rather than later.

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