One drug supplier says it has sold 250,000 anti-radiation pills to people in the U.S. concerned about possible exposure from Japanese nuclear reactors.
Troy Jones, president of Nukepills.com, said his company sold out over the weekend of potassium iodide pills, which prevent against radiation poisoning of the thyroid gland. Jones, in an interview with FoxNews.com, said that the pills were sold to dozens of U.S. pharmacies, corporations, hospitals and nuclear labs.
"You name it," he said.
Jones said that he has back-ordered more than a million tablets and is expected to get another 10,000 of the liquid potassium iodine. He also said that he has donated about 50,000 pills to Japan, many of them going to a hospital in Tokyo.
Despite assurances from health officials that Americans are not at risk from Japanese nuclear reactors, U.S. drug stores are reporting a sudden increase in sales of the over-the-counter anti-radiation pills.
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Potassium iodide pills are reportedly flying off the shelves at drug stores in at least three West Coast states -- Oregon, California and Hawaii -- according to several local press accounts.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that one Virginia-based supplier, Anbex Inc., sold out of its entire supply of 10,000 14-tablet packages on Saturday.
Alan Morris, president of the company, reportedly said that the supplier is receiving about three orders a minute for $10 packages of its Iosat pills.
"Those who don't get it are crying. They're terrified," Morris told the newspaper.
U.S. health officials have said that dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant in Japan pose little or no risk to people on the U.S. West Coast. But the reassurances have not stopped worried Americans from clearing out potassium iodide supplies at drug stores in Hawaii, Oregon and California.
Stores in Eugene, Ore., for example, have reported a sudden spike in sales of the pill. Janell Davis, vitamin manager at Sundance Natural Foods, told the Register-Guard that the store was sold out of the tablets by Saturday afternoon. In Redding, Calif., some store owners say they can't stock their shelves fast enough with the tablets.
“As soon as we found out people were calling and coming in and emptying our shelves this morning, I called my boss and she told me to go ahead and order a bunch," Jan Gertner, who works at Whitney's Vitamin and Herb Shop, told krcrtv.com.