Saturday, May 14, 2016

Thank You Big Pharma

Yes, you read that right, I actually wrote "Thank you Big Pharma," me, who has bashed the drug pushers for almost a decade on this blog. Why the sudden change? This:

Pfizer Blocks Use of Its Drugs in Lethal Injections:

The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Friday that it had imposed sweeping controls on the distribution of its products to ensure that none are used in lethal injections, a step that closes off the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions.

More than 20 American and European drug companies have already adopted such restrictions, citing either moral or business reasons. Nonetheless, the decision from one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturers is seen as a milestone.

“With Pfizer’s announcement, all F.D.A.-approved manufacturers of any potential execution drug have now blocked their sale for this purpose,” said Maya Foa, who tracks drug companies for Reprieve, a London-based human rights advocacy group. “Executing states must now go underground if they want to get hold of medicines for use in lethal injection.”
Kind of like Georgia did back a few years ago, buying drugs from the back of car in a parking lot in London for lethal injection, and subsequently getting busted for it by the DEA when they attempted to smuggle the drug back into the U.S. Or better, using the shady "compounding pharmacies" which have sprung up over the years, who mix the lethal doses of barbituates, unregulated of course.
Some states have used straw buyers or tried to import drugs from abroad that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, only to see them seized by federal agents. Some have covertly bought supplies from loosely regulated compounding pharmacies while others, including Arizona, Oklahoma and Ohio, have delayed executions for months or longer because of drug shortages or legal issues tied to injection procedures.

A few states have adopted the electric chair, firing squad or gas chamber as an alternative if lethal drugs are not available. Since Utah chooses to have a death penalty, “we have to have a means of carrying it out,” said State Representative Paul Ray as he argued last year for authorization of the firing squad.
Snicker. Damn straight. Ain't gonna run outta bullets anytime soon. And compounding pharmacies, like mobile home meth labs, are springing up everywhere.

So to hide all this from the public, let's impose unconstitutional restrictions like "Lethal Injection Secrecy Acts" on the people.
A majority of the 32 states with the death penalty have imposed secrecy around their drug sources, saying that suppliers would face severe reprisals or even violence from death penalty opponents. In a court hearing this week, a Texas official argued that disclosing the identity of its pentobarbital source “creates a substantial threat of physical harm.”

But others, noting the evidence that states are making covert drug purchases, see a different motive. “The secrecy is not designed to protect the manufacturers, it is designed to keep the manufacturers in the dark about misuse of their products,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group in Washington.

Georgia, Missouri and Texas have obtained pentobarbital from compounding pharmacies, which operate without normal F.D.A. oversight and are intended to help patients meet needs for otherwise unavailable medications.
Meanwhile, some of the most sane statements on the efficacy of the death penalty have come from Big Pharma, who ironically just want to hook you to their drugs, without actually killing you (which is bad for business, natch).
Campaigns against the death penalty, and Europe’s strong prohibitions on the export of execution drugs, have raised the stakes for pharmaceutical companies. But many, including Pfizer, say medical principles and business concerns have guided their policies.

“Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve,” the company said in Friday’s statement, and “strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment.”
Again, before you stand up and cheer too much, let's remember their main motivation is just getting you hooked on drugs, not actually killing you. Because once you're dead, well, y'know...they would rather you spiral into a long, drawn out addiction, from which they can make much more money, than instantly kill you.

Nonetheless, another step in the right direction regarding the anachronism the death penalty has become in the U.S. today. Well, except Georgia, which is on track to whack more people in one calendar year in 2016 than they have since the bad old days in the 70's. I mean, c'mon, Texas is only one ahead of them so far this year (6-5 Tx).

Don't mess with Georgia. Or whatever.

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