In all the years that I’ve spent ingesting pills / tablets / capsules, I can’t recall coming across one that has been easy to swallow. Sure, the capsules are easier in that they’re smoother and won’t scratch your throat, but they’re not that much better than tablets. Yes, the alternative is a syrup type of concoction but they don’t have those for all medicines.
I have heard about some companies making pills that are sugar-coated that children find easier to swallow because of the non-bitter taste but that’s one component, taste, and not texture. (I guess it doesn’t help that some people’s, particularly children’s, gag reflexes seem to be in overdrive at the prospect of taking a tablet.)
One way that companies seem to work around this is to make chewable tablets. I still remember the Vitamin C tablets we would sometimes get as children, they were like eating a sour-sweet candy.
It doesn’t answer the bigger question of how to make tablets easier to swallow and whether people have put their minds to solving this problem. I feel that the right combination of shape, texture, and taste can result in a winning solution. I wonder what would happen if we asked a firm like Ideo to design a pill. I’ll bet they’d come up with something good.