(From the front page of the New York Daily News, today, Wednesday, 16 March 2011.)
It does look like people are taking the advice. Potassium iodide pills are selling out in the United States.
Fears of radiation sickness stemming from the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan have prompted a surge in US sales of potassium iodide.From http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42095558/ns/health-health_care/:
Pharmacies do not generally carry KI, but several manufacturers have reported being out of stock.
Online retailer nukepills.com said via its Twitter feed that it had sold out of KI pills on Tuesday.
It received 3,800 orders in 18 hours on Sunday and has shipped 50,000 pills to Tokyo, with the help of Harvard Medical School.
Debby Fleming Wurdack, co-owner of Fleming Pharmaceuticals, which produces a KI solution on demand, told the BBC the firm would be out of stock by the end of the day.
"This is insanity," Ms Fleming Wurdack said.
The company received more than 350 calls with orders from clients ranging from housewives to state governments on Tuesday, she said.
Ms Fleming Wurdack told the BBC that her company had ordered additional raw materials to manufacture more KI solution.
She expects the orders will continue for months.
In the five minutes it takes to ask Troy Jones about a sudden shortage of potassium iodide pills to prevent radiation sickness, the North Carolina owner of http://www.nukepills.com already has logged nearly two dozen more orders.Well, sure. It's true. Most nuts are normal, every-day, see-them-at-the-grocery store people.
“I’m now getting one every 30 seconds,” said Jones, 46, who has sold out of more than 50,000 doses of pills and liquid in days in the wake of fears of potential nuclear fallout from Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Despite expert assurances that nuclear radiation won’t reach the shores of America, demand for potassium iodide has swamped the stocks of all three manufacturers or suppliers approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for use in the U.S.
Anbex, Inc., of Williamsburg, Va., sold out of IOSAT pills on Monday. Fleming & Co. Pharmaceuticals, of Fenton, Mo., which makes ThyroShield Solution is scrambling to make more. And Recipharm AB, the Swedish firm that makes lower-dose Thyro-Safe tablets estimates it will take weeks to replenish its stock.
“We’ve shipped more private orders in the last three days than we have in the last three years,” said Mark Quick, the vice president of corporate development for Recipharm.
Alan Morris, president of Anbex Inc., which manufactures the IOSET pills, said he hoped to produce and ship about 4.5 million tablets in the next few weeks, but admitted that the Japan disaster caught his company a bit off guard.
"The world seems to be utterly terrified of what's going on in Japan," Morris said. "This is the first time in 30 years that we've been out of stock."
Many customers are private individuals who help fuel sales of about a quarter million tablets a month. Most clients come from New York, Los Angeles — and Utah, Jones said. And while stockpiling antidotes for a nuclear emergency could seem extreme, Jones said the customers aren’t all the tin-foil hat set.
“I have some nuts, people who swear up and down that the world is going to end May 21,” he said. “Most of them are normal, every-day, see-them-at-the-grocery store people.”
And before you ask, none of the companies appear to be publicly traded. I looked. Recipharm AB does have an investor page.
I hope this doesn't make it hard for people in the affected area to get KI pills if and when they actually need them.