As the effects of the nuclear disaster in Japan remain unclear, panicked US residents are doing whatever they can to get their hands on Potassium Iodide pills.
Distributors of the FDA recommended pills have run out of stock, with one manufacturer reporting that they sold some 250,000 individual packets in a single weekend.
As we reported in What Your Grocery Store Will Look Like In An Emergency, at the onset of a far-from-equilibrium event, the essentials go first. In Japan, food and especially water have become scarce.
The panic is spreading, and residents in the US, fearing a fallout cloud crossing the pacific and affecting Western states, are stocking up as well.
The top priority? Potassium Iodide – or nuke pills.
In recent days, the Surgeon General has advised concerned West Coast residents to get a hold of Potassium Iodide in the event of a radiation threat in the US.
The supply crunch and high demand has forced buyers to turn to the secondary market for acquiring the FDA recommended potassium iodide supplements, driving prices to upwards of $200 for a 14 dose packet. The suggested retail price offered by the supplier at NukePills.com is $10 per pack, indicating that demand has forced prices up as much as 1900% in just a few days.
Radiation monitoring equipment like Geiger counters have also exploded in price since just prior to the nuclear crisis. Normally costing approximately $50 per unit, prices have reached several hundred dollars, an increase of over 250% in some cases:
The effectiveness of KI as a specific blocker of thyroid radioiodine uptake is well established. When administered in the recommended dose, KI is effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in individuals or populations at risk for inhalation or ingestion of radioiodines. KI floods the thyroid with non-radioactive iodine and prevents the uptake of the radioactive molecules, which are subsequently excreted in the urine.