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Media Statement on Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Fleming Pharmaceuticals Stepping Up Production of Nuclear Antidote

ST. LOUIS, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Fleming Pharmaceuticals, maker of ThyroShield – one of two FDA-approved potassium iodide medicines used in nuclear emergencies to block the thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine to avoid thyroid cancer – is stepping up production of ThyroShield to help provide domestic and global relief.  

ThyroShield is an iodide solution which, when taken orally, saturates the thyroid gland so radioactive iodine cannot be absorbed. The Fleming form of potassium iodide is especially effective for babies and children, given the easy dosing liquid formula.

"ThyroShield is not routinely stocked in large quantities but we are putting a plan in place that expedites production and delivery," states Phill Dritsas, president of Fleming Pharmaceuticals. "However, in the case of Japan, we simply don't have enough inventory to even begin to fill a need that great and immediate."

Under a 2002 federal law, states and local governments are required to provide potassium iodide medicine for citizens living within 20 miles of any of the 104 U.S. nuclear power plants. To that end, the federal government has stockpiled millions of doses of potassium iodide in liquid and pill form for states and local governments to distribute.

"Some of the nation's stockpile of ThyroShield has already expired and the remaining inventory will expire over the next year and a half. If federal officials were to decide to donate the existing medicine, while it is still viable, for humanitarian efforts in Japan, that could address the immediate need there AND give us time to accelerate production here and work with the federal government to replenish what was donated," Dritsas says.  

"The scope of the issue goes beyond Japan however," Dritsas explains. "Some Americans on the West Coast are fearful that the radiation from Japan could drift to our shores, although that is not a real threat according to authorities.  And of course there is always the possibility of an unrelated leak here on our own soil. The Japan incident has heightened awareness of the dangers of radiation exposure."

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SOURCE Fleming Pharmaceuticals
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