TUESDAY, Oct. 11, 2022 (HealthDay News) — While the United States has recently ordered a $290 million supply of a drug meant to treat radiation sickness, federal health officials say that is not cause for alarm.
It is coincidental that the order of Nplate, made by pharmaceutical company Amgen, comes just as Russian President Vladimir Putin is making nuclear threats, say officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). On Monday morning, Putin also ordered a series of missile strikes against at least 10 cities across Ukraine, hitting the capital city of Kyiv and other areas far from the front line.
Despite these developments, the U.S. purchase of Nplate is part of “long-standing, ongoing efforts by the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response to better prepare the U.S. for the potential health impacts of a wide range of threats to national security,” according to an HHS news release. The purchase is for about 50,000 courses of the drug. That is not enough if the United States were close to war with Russia, NBC News reported.
“It isn’t that much product,” Chris Meekins, former deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, told NBC News. “I would expect a bigger buy if this were in a response to something going on over there that requires them to both have enough for the U.S. and for giving to partners overseas.”
The drug must also be used within 24 hours of nuclear exposure, making it a nonideal candidate for a widespread nuclear explosion, Meekins added. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends people stay indoors for at least 24 hours after a nuclear event.
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