Earlier this month, President Trump took to Twitter to send a chilling reminder to the leader of North Korea who had stated that he has a nuclear button on his desk “at all times.” Trump’s response that the nuclear button on his desk is “bigger and more powerful” caused an immediate jump in drugs designed to help prevent health problems caused from radiation exposure.
According to a report in Kaiser Health News, a website called NukePills.com shipped about 140,000 doses of potassium iodide — which blocks the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine and helps protect against cancer — in the two-day period following the tweet. Normally, the site sells about 8,400 doses in the same time period.
A pharmaceutical company called Anbex Inc., which sells potassium iodide, also reported that it saw a sudden rise in demand for the drug.
Potassium iodide — also known as KI — has a shelf life of seven years and is often purchased by people who live close to nuclear plants. Because it only protects the thyroid and not other organs, neither the US FDA nor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that families stockpile the medicine as a potential panacea for protecting against a nuclear emergency.
Nevertheless, many apparently see the drug as a better-than-nothing option.
“We are a wonderful barometer of the level of anxiety in the country,” the president of Anbex Inc. commented.