Printer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard is teaming up with an Irish company to develop a skin patch that delivers precisely controlled amounts of drugs with tiny needles. The drug delivery system uses some of the same technology as ink printers, and could inject different drugs at different times. "Squirting ink and squirting drugs— it's not a whole lot different," said one executive.
The technology could provide the equivalent of a thousand hypodermic needles per square inch that are all electronically controlled, according to a company spokesman. The system could be ready as early as 2010, and is expected to be relatively cheap. The patches could last for days or weeks, and would be particularly useful to patients who need to take several drugs on a complicated schedule.