U.S. government stocks up on radiation sickness drug

by WorldTribune Staff, October 6, 2022

Team Biden’s Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) announced on Oct. 4 the purchase of $290 million worth of the drug Nplate, which is a treatment for radiation sickness.

ASPR, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a statement that it stocked up on the drug as part of its “ongoing efforts to be better prepared to save lives following radiological and nuclear emergencies.”

ASPR is tasked with preparing the nation for future disasters and public health emergencies.

The drug is being purchased from Amgen USA, a biotechnology firm headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California.

Nplate is the trade name of romiplostim, which was approved by the FDA in January 2021 to treat blood cell injuries that accompany acute radiation syndrome (ARS) in adults and children.

ARS is also referred to as radiation sickness, which reaches internal organs in mere seconds and “occurs when a person’s entire body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation.” It can result in a difficulty for blood to clot because of low platelet counts, which can lead to uncontrolled bleeding, which is life-threatening.

Nplate helps reduce the radiation-induced bleeding by stimulating the body to produce more platelets, according to Amgen.

According to the announcement, Amgen’s development of Nplate for radiation sickness was supported by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

“Amgen will maintain this supply in vendor-managed inventory,” ASPR said of the Nplate drug supply. “This approach decreases life-cycle management costs for taxpayers because doses that near expiration can be rotated into the commercial market for rapid use prior to expiry and new doses can be added to the government supply.”

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