Monday, September 27, 2010

Wanted: Sodium Thiopental for Lethal Injection

Some U.S. Executions on Hold by Shortage of Drug:

Some executions in the U.S. have been put on hold because of a shortage of one of the drugs used in lethal injections from coast to coast.

Several of the 35 states that rely on lethal injection are either scrambling to find sodium thiopental — an anesthetic that renders the condemned inmate unconscious — or considering using another drug. But both routes are strewn with legal or ethical roadblocks.

The sole U.S. manufacturer, Hospira Inc. of Lake Forest, Ill., has blamed the shortage on unspecified problems with its raw-material suppliers and said new batches of sodium thiopental will not be available until January at the earliest.
Maybe states should start advertising anonymously on Craigslist. "Sodium Thiopental wanted for executions. Serious inquiries only. Send info to SWEET SENSATIONS."

Apparently Hospira is growing leery of being the only provider of the drugs (including pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes muscles, and potassium chloride, which stops the heart) to states for use in the gruesome task.

Last spring, Hospira, a publicly traded company, sent a letter to all states outlining its discomfort with the use of its drugs for executions, as it has done periodically.

"Hospira provides these products because they improve or save lives and markets them solely for use as indicated on the product labeling," Kees Groenhout, clinical research and development vice president, said in a March 31 letter to Ohio, obtained by the AP. "As such, we do not support the use of any of our products in capital punishment procedures."

Kind of a bummer when your product starts being used off-label like that. Bad for business.

But fear not, pro-death penalty advocates: several states, Georgia among them, have plenty of supply. We even have enough to execute this dude tonight, who tried to cheat the executioner last week by attempting suicide (only to be "rushed to the hospital" and have "heroic measures" performed to keep him alive...for tonight).

Virginia apparently had enough Thursday to execute Teresa Lewis, the first woman put to death in the U.S. since 2005. Georgia and California pressed ahead with plans for executions on Monday night and Wednesday, respectively. Georgia's Corrections Department said it has an "appropriate supply" of sodium thiopental and is prepared to carry out executions. California officials would not discuss the issue.

Y'all c'mon down and getcha some if you run out. We're open till midnight.

No comments: