1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.

Pfizer Bows Out of Supplying US States With Execution Drugs

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    After pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced on Friday that it will clamp down on the distribution of its drugs so that they can no longer be used in executions, any state that wants to use lethal injection will now have to resort to getting them on underground markets.

    Pfizer announced that it will restrict seven products — pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide, and vecuronium bromide — that are used in executions. Those products will now only be available to a select group of wholesalers, distributors, and direct purchasers who verify that they won’t resell them to correctional institutions for executions, and any government entity that wants to buy them has to certify that they will only be used for patient care and will not be resold.

    Pfizer says it will “consistently monitor” the seven drugs to root out any noncompliance and modify its policies if need be to make sure that they aren’t used in lethal injections.

    “Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve,” the company said in its statement announcing the new policies. “Consistent with these values, Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment.”

    Without supply from Pfizer, states that use lethal injection now have no open-market source of getting drugs. “With Pfizer’s announcement, all F.D.A.-approved manufacturers of any potential execution drug have now blocked their sale for this purpose,” Maya Foa, director of human rights group Reprieve’s death penalty team, told the New York Times. “Executing states must now go underground if they want to get hold of medicines for use in lethal injection.”

    The announcement comes after more than 20 drug companies in the United States and Europe had similarly restricted products that are used in lethal injection. It also comes after Pfizer acquired Hospira, which makes drugs used in executions and had tried but failed to prevent their use in state prisons. Its products were used, for example, in the high-profile, prolonged execution of Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire, which took nearly 25 minutes and appeared to cause him suffering.

    Thirty-one states still authorize the death penalty, and lethal injection is the primary method. But these states have faced increasing road blocks in their attempts to access the drugs since 2009, when technical production problems shut down the only federally approved factory making sodium thiopental, a barbiturate given to render inmates unconscious before the lethal drugs are administered. Since then, manufacturers have increasingly sought to avoid being associated with executions and barred corrections facilities from buying their drugs.

    In response, states have experimented with new combinations of drugs and tried to import them from other countries or use straw buyers to access them. Some have bought drugs from compounding pharmacies that aren’t regulated by the FDA. Others have even considered turning to the use of the electric chair, firing squads, and gas chambers.

    Others, including Arizona, Oklahoma, and Ohio, have had to delay executions for months at a time because of drug shortages or injunctions over their methods.

    Amid these challenges, capitol punishment has been on the decline. Last year just six states performed executions — the bulk of them in one state, Texas — and killed 28 people in total, a 70 percent decrease from a peak of 98 people in 1999.

    By Bryce Covert - Think Progress/May 13, 2016
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Nosferatus
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, why go to all this trouble when most states already have at least one legal alternative method that is logistically much easier. There might also be some benefit in exploring crucifixion, burning at the stake, decapitation and beating with boards that have nails in them.
  2. scartissue_68
    This is classic. The state governments (and I'm guessing the Federal Government) that oversee their respective Death Penalties must now go "underground" to get drugs like propofol and hydromorphone, just as many here need go to "The Street" to get their drugs of choice, because that same government has restricted those drugs it finds objectionable from being sold to their citizens for recreational purposes. It would be funny, if not so pathetically paradoxical. Too bad Pfizer can't complete their "Social Engineering" the way the States do...put the State Governments in jail for using their DOC's in executions.

    Also, why the collection of drugs. Its typical of the US government to complicate something so simple? Veterinarians use an overdose of a single barbiturate to euthanize an animal. Its "over" in about 5 seconds from infusion.

    Thanks for posting BT2H. Interesting, if frustrating topic.
  3. Nosferatus
    Why don't they just buy veterinary euthanasia drugs and adjust for size?
  4. Name goes here
    The government can't hire a few scientists to manufacture any number of lethal drugs? Such stupidity in this. I'm sure there's off the shelf chemicals that can be used for the death penalty.
  5. Docta
    All drugs for human use within the US must be first approved for use by the FDA,...I know its ludicrous.
  6. Nosferatus
    ^^Especially given the purpose of these. I guess it makes sense given that an execution method must be both effective and humane. The use of compounding pharmacies is akin to hiring scientists to manufacture the needed drugs, but apparently many are reluctant to do that and there might be intellectual property issues in manufacturing substances that bigger companies refuse to sell.
  7. Beenthere2Hippie
    It is quite the conundrum.

    As gruesome as it may sound, I can't help but believe that the more efficient a society gets at putting people "down," as painlessly as possible, (of course) the worse the moral argument against stopping the madness becomes.

    Execution in modern society remains problematic. And if it continues, not too far down the political road, some goofball liberal will decide to push for death row inmates' rights by firing up a lawsuit that, somehow, gets through the Supreme Court of the future USA. Then will follow the day that inmates' rights will include the right to grief counseling, softer tissues, better healthcare, understanding guards, and online and family time, all in effort to help staunch the pain for death-row "Americans."

    Give me the good old days when people who claimed the courage of their convictions were willing to get their hands-- and hearts--dirty with the reality of their beliefs.
  8. Nosferatus
    ^^But capital punishment isn't meant to be retaliatory, it's purpose is simply to remove a person who has proven via their behaviour that their continued existence is irreparably detrimental to others, the method being painful does not serve that end at all and therefore serves no purpose, thus every care should be taken to prevent it.
  9. Beenthere2Hippie
    I disagree. If a society condones and practices the death penalty to cope with a certain criminal element, how that criminal is feeling during and throughout the process of being killed should be of no real concern to that type of society; morally speaking, we cannot have it both ways. We either work at helping all people heal and get better, or we take the tossable human attitude.

    As I guess you can tell from my post, below, I am not an advocate for the death penalty, in any circumstance or form. It's just how I believe. I suppose you could call it my own tidbit of pseudo Buddhism. To me, a society can take the high or low ground on such issues, but getting tied up in what amounts to the semantics of a situation seems silly to me and just goes to prove that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot care and kill.

    But, hey. Debate it. Make me think. Tell me why that's not true. That's part of what we're all here for, right?

    Enlightenment. :cool:
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!