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Pills can be swallowed to stop headaches, lubricate joints, supplement  diets and alleviate the symptoms of countless ailments.  They are also a convenient way of distributing recreational drugs  which are now more popular than cigarettes amongst 11-15 year olds in the UK.

In the USA some 53,000 people died in 2016 from the overdose of opioid pills many of which were bought on line without medical advice.

Meanwhile the limited number of doctors and pharmacists in Africa has led to a lucrative market in fake pills in some countries. Whilst these may appear to be genuine they provide no beneficial ingredients. 

Typically tablets will contain between 5% to 10% of active ingredients with 80% filler and 10% of compounds which aid digestion. Coatings of sugar, varnish or wax are applied to improve taste, resist stomach acids and aid rapid or sustained release of the contents. 


The earliest known pills were found on a wrecked Roman ship dating from 140BC . They appear to be a treatment for sore eyes.


The ingredients of traditional pills were mixed in a pestle and mortar. The compound was then rolled into a long cylinder which was then sliced into smaller pills.

Today the mixing is more precise and is now machine based  and undertaken in surgically clean environments. The pill making machine will create the mixture and stamp out the required shape, adding break lines and adding logos as required.