Bioshield Contract Awarded for
Pediatric Liquid Potassium Iodide

(U.S. HHS) The Department of Health and Human Services awarded a $5.7 millioncontract to Fleming & Company, Pharmaceuticals of Fenton, Mo. for themanufacture and delivery of 1.7 million pediatric doses of liquid potassium

iodide (KI). This supply of liquid KI, which is being purchased under theBioShield program, would be used in the event of a release of radioactiveiodine, a commonly produced material in commercial nuclear power facilities.

The liquid KI formulation is the first to be developed specifically forchildren. Its black raspberry taste is designed to make it more palatable tochildren. Current adult dose tablets are bitter and must be broken intopieces to get a child’s dose. The new formulation is delivered using agraduated eyedropper.

"The acquisition of this new and easy-to-administer pediatric KI formulationis an important step forward for our nation’s radiological preparednessprogram," Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency PreparednessStewart Simonson, said.

Because the thyroid gland rapidly absorbs any iodine in the body, peopleneed to take KI soon after an incident that involves the release ofradioactive iodine, such as could occur in the vicinity of a nuclearcommercial power facility. The KI saturates the thyroid gland with iodine,thus preventing the thyroid from absorbing additional, radioactive iodine.However, KI does not prevent the effects of any other radioactive elements.

Approval of the liquid KI as a pediatric formulation was given last year bythe Interagency Weapons of Mass Destruction Medical CountermeasuresSubcommittee. Children are the most susceptible to the dangerous effects ofradioactive iodine.

Once it is delivered to HHS, the pediatric KI will be made available tostates that submit and receive approval from HHS for plans they develop todistribute the new product in communities around commercial nuclear powerplants.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved KI in tablet form as anonprescription drug for use as a "blocking agent" to prevent the humanthyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine. On Jan. 12, 2005, the FDAgranted approval to Fleming for their product ThyroShieldTM (PotassiumIodide Oral Solution, USP) 65 mg/ml for children.