"FDA’s Immoral Stance on Lethal Injection Drugs," is the title of commentary by Raymond Bonner for Bloomberg. Here's the beginning:
The mission of the Food and Drug Administration is to protect us from drugs that might kill because they are impure, badly manufactured, untested. Well, not all drugs, as it turns out.
When it comes to drugs used in executions, the FDA says it doesn’t check on their “potency, safety or effectiveness.” Thus, the agency allowed a small company in Mumbai that stored its drugs in a room without air conditioning to sell Nebraska enough sodium thiopental for 166 executions.
It permitted a tiny wholesaler, Dream Pharma, operating out of two rooms in the back of a driving school in London, to sell sodium thiopental -- the most critical drug in executions -- to Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and California. The FDA even helped expedite a shipment of sodium thiopental to Arizona because “it was for the purpose of executions and not for use by the general public,” the deputy director of the Arizona Department of Corrections wrote in an e-mail to his counterpart in California.
This caused one death penalty lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, to say sarcastically that drugs “can be expedited if they are meant to kill someone, but apparently not if they are meant to save lives.”
The conundrum for the FDA, which has now been sued, arose when the only U.S. company that had FDA approval for sodium thiopental, Hospira (HSP), ceased production. With that, death penalty states scrambled abroad for the drug, an anesthetic, and their problems escalated.
Coverage of the federal district court ruling in Beaty v. FDA is at the link.
Related posts are in the lethal injection category index.