Manufacturers of drugs often used for lethal injections have asked a magistrate to stop them from being used in governments plan to execute seven men in 11 days
Two drugmakers have asked a magistrate to prevent the use of their drugs for executions in Arkansas, which plans to kill seven men over 11 days before the states supply of a lethal injection drug expires.
Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of two drug compounds often used for executions in the US, filed amicus briefs in district tribunal in Arkansas on Thursday. When the drugs could be used to protect life, they are instead being used to end it, lawyers for the companies wrote in tribunal documents.
Both firms have policies to prevent supplies of their medicines purposing up in the service of executions, for instance barring distributors from selling to prisons or delivering medicines to other middlemen.
It is suggested that these controls have been bypassed, the lawyers wrote, adding that unauthorized drugs were more likely to be adulterated due to improper handle, for example, the failure to maintain proper temperature levels during storage and transport.
Fresenius Kabi invents potassium chloride, the drug that prison officials use to stop the heart, and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals invents midazolam, the controversial sedative that Arkansas has in short supply. Midazolam has been at the center of a series of botched executions in which captives struggled at length before dying, and a handful of states have abandoned the sedative. In January, a magistrate in Ohio blocked the states utilize of the drug.
Both companies said they had no record of direct or indirect sales to the Arkansas department of correction.
The only conclusion is that these drugs were acquired from an unauthorized marketer in violation of important contractual terms that the manufacturers relied on, the lawyers wrote.
More significantly, the utilization of the drugs for lethal injections generates a public-health danger by undermining the safety and supply of lifesaving drugs, the lawyers added. The utilize of the drugs in lethal injections operates counter to the manufacturers mission to save and improve patients lives.
The lawyers also noted that the European Union had strict regulations for products that can be used for capital punishment, meaning that Arkansas activities could convince officials to reduce the supply of drugs for fear of indirectly abetting executions.
Neither the agency of Arkansass governor, Asa Hutchinson , nor the states department of corrections instantly replied to telephone call or an email.
Neither corporation took any position on capital punishment itself. The third drug that Arkansas intends to use for the execution, vecuronium bromide, appears to have been stimulated by Hospira, a subsidiary of Pfizer. Executives at the drug giant have said they oppose the use of their medicines in executions, but a spokesperson for the corporation did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Arkansas has a strict secrecy statute surrounding its execution procedures, and has refused to say how it acquired the medicines it intends to use. The country has conceded in tribunal that it persuaded a third-party supplier to resell medicines, despite the terms of its contract.
Arkansas deliberately engineered a breach in these companies contracts in order to obtain these medicines, undermining the rights and interests of the healthcare industry and putting public health at risk, mentioned Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, a human rights-focused not-for-profit organization.
The companies are understandably appalled at future prospects of their drugs being used in Americas largest mass executing since the civil rights age, she added.
Should the country execute the seven men between 17 and 27 April, it would be the most executions within a few days since the supreme court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.