November 29, 2010
"States ask Texas to supply ingredient for executions"
The title of this post is the headline of this article in today's USA Today. Here are excerpts:
As the supply of a key drug used in lethal injections dwindles, state officials are knocking on the door of the busiest execution chamber in the country for help.
Some states that have the death penalty have asked Texas for doses of sodium thiopental, the so-called knockout drug, used as part of the three-drug cocktail in executions by lethal injection, accordingto Michelle Lyons, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She would not identify the states that requested assistance.
The state has declined to make its supply available even though all of its 39 available doses are set to expire in March and there are only three executions scheduled in the state before then, Lyons said.
States — including Arizona, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky — have scrambled to acquire the drug. Sodium thiopental renders the condemned inmate unconscious, so the prisoner does not feel pain. Hospira, the lone federally approved producer of the drug, has said new batches of the substance would not be available until next year.
Lyons said that despite the looming expiration of Texas' extra inventory, "we do not have plans to distribute the drug to other states. We have a responsibility to ensure we have an adequate supply of the drug on hand to carry out any executions scheduled in the state of Texas," Lyons said.
States with shortages are trying to find suppliers abroad or proposing radical changes in their execution protocols to deal with the lack of drugs.
- In Oklahoma last week, a federal judge approved the use of pentobarbital, a drug used in euthanizing animals, to replace sodium thiopental in lethal injections. Oklahoma Assistant Attorney General Stephen Krise said the state was "forced" to find an alternative when sodium thiopental became "unavailable."
- In Arizona last month, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the execution of convicted murderer Jeffrey Landrigan after his attorneys challenged the state's acquisition of sodium thiopental from an undisclosed supplier in Britain.
- In Kentucky in August, Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, postponed the signing of two death warrants because of the shortage of sodium thiopental. "The (state's) repeated attempts to obtain additional thiopental have so far been unsuccessful," Beshear said in written statement.
November 29, 2010 at 08:38 AM | Permalink
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The FDA has tested fifteen year old medication for the military and found it pure, potent, and usable. Unless exposed and changed in appearance, the expired drug may be used for an additional decade if not longer. The expiration data represents an FDA lawyer mala prohibita devoid of any scientific evidence or basis. It is a false regulation.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 29, 2010 11:02:57 AM