States Scramble for Execution Drug as Other Countries Balk

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The United States’ use of lethal injection is itself in danger of dying, as American officials continue to struggle to find new supplies of a key drug used for executions.
For most of this year, officials from various states have tried to import sodium thiopental since the only American manufacturer of the drug, Hospira, stopped making it. Attempts to obtain sodium thiopental from Europe have been blocked by the European Union, which has decided to restrict the drug’s export for use in capital punishment.
The drug is reportedly used by at least 35 states that execute prisoners on death row.
Nebraska prison officials managed to purchase sodium thiopental from a Swiss manufacturer through a third party. But once Naari found out how the drug would be used, company officials demanded Nebraska return the vials. The state is refusing to do so.
About 480 grams were purchased by a broker who told Naari the drug would be used as an anesthesia in Zambia. Instead, he sold it Nebraska’s corrections department.
Nebraska and South Dakota also purchased quantities of sodium thiopental from Kayem, a pharmaceutical company in India. But after Kayem executives learned of the drug’s purpose, they declined to export anymore to the U.S.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
India Source for U.S. Execution Drug? (by Rahi Gaikwad, The Hindu)
Prison to Keep Execution Drug (by Joe Duggan, Omaha World-Herald)

U.K. Anti-Death Penalty Group Sues to Halt Export of Execution Drug to U.S. (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 


Leave a comment