Sales of Anti-Nuke Pills Climb

Aug 13, 2002

The Wall Street Journal reports that worries about radiation from a terrorist attack or a nuclear-plant accident have triggered a run on the drug potassium iodide, also referred to by its chemical abbreviation, KI. The American
Thyroid Association – recommends that anyone living within 50 miles
of a power plant have the pills on hand, and that anyone within 200 miles of
a plant have access to an emergency stockpile.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved only two brands of pills. Iosat
generally is the only brand available directly to consumers. It comes in single-pill
foil packs, which prevent it from degrading as a result of exposure to air and
humidity. A few pharmacies stock the pills, but it is easiest to purchase them
through the distributor, A year ago, the site received a few
orders a week. Today, it processes about 1,000 orders a day. A package of 14
pills cost $9.95.,, and also carry the approved

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is giving states with or near nuclear plants
two free pills for residents who live within 10 miles of a plant. Some states
are distributing the pills, while others are keeping them in local stockpiles.
This week, Pennsylvania will begin distributing free potassium iodide pills
to residents near the state’s five nuclear plants. New York, New Jersey and
Maryland also give them away. However, the free pills fall short of the 14-day
supply recommended for most people.

The pills protect only one organ, the thyroid gland, which is especially vulnerable
to radioactive fallout. The pills don’t protect against other risks, such as
radiation sickness or types of cancer, such as leukemia, nor do they protect
against radiation from a dirty bomb attack.

Moderator Comment: Should retailers/pharmacists be counseling shoppers to not buy certain products? Does the long-term benefit of this action outweigh the short-term sale loss?

The anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks
has made people, consciously or otherwise, more concerned about personal safety
issues. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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