WASHINGTON — Federal health officials say a compound long used as the artist's pigment Prussian blue could be an important antidote to a "dirty bomb" attack, and they are calling for drug companies to quickly seek permission to manufacture it.
The Food and Drug Administration action Friday marks a big step toward radiation specialists' call for a stockpile of the antidote -- all but guaranteeing sales approval for manufacturers who meet some fairly simple conditions.
An Energy Department-funded facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., has the nation's only supply of Prussian blue in pill form, and that supply is limited.
That facility, the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site, or REACTS, helps with radiation accidents worldwide. REACTS buys experimental Prussian blue pills from a German firm, and had urged the FDA to approve the compound so it would be easier to stockpile in case of a terrorist attack.