The Associated Press reports, "Another manufacturer blocks drug for execution use, clouding Missouri’s plans." It's by Alan Scher Zagier, via the Kansas City Star.
A manufacturer of the anesthetic blamed for Michael Jackson’s overdose death says it won’t allow the drug to be sold for use in executions.
Drugmaker Fresenius Kabi USA is one of two domestic suppliers of propofol, which has been singled out as a lethal injection alternative amid a drug shortage that has forced several states to revise their execution protocols.
Missouri this year said it would become the first state to use propofol as an execution drug.
Fresenius Kabi confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that it has told distributors it will not accept orders from U.S. corrections departments.
Hospira is the only other company that has distributed propofol in the U.S., but it has exhausted its current supply and has come out with strong opposition to the drug’s use in executions.
Fresenius Kabi spokesman Matt Kuhn said the company told its distributors in late August that such usage contradicts the drug’s medical purpose and is “inconsistent” with the company’s mission. It is also forbidden under European Union laws to export drugs that could be used in executions.
“Fresenius Kabi objects to the use of its products in any manner that is not in full accordance with the medical indications for which they have been approved by health authorities,” a company statement reads. “Consequently, the company does not accept orders for propofol from any departments of correction in the United States. Nor will it do so.”
Officials with the Missouri attorney general’s office and the Department of Corrections didn’t immediately respond Thursday to requests seeking comment about the propofol maker’s stance. In August, the Missouri Supreme Court declined Attorney General Chris Koster’s request to set execution dates for six death row inmates, calling it “premature” pending the uncertainty over propofol’s availability.
"Supplier of drug Missouri wants to use for executions blocks sale to prisons," by Robert Patrick for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The only domestic supplier of the powerful painkiller that Missouri hopes to use to execute prisoners has moved to prevent its use for that purpose.
Late last month, Fresenius Kabi sent a letter to healthcare providers that informed them that the company would only sell the drug propofol to approved wholesalers and distributors. Those wholesalers and distributors would only be approved if they refused to sell to prisons and retail pharmacies and only agreed to sell it to hospitals, clinics, and health care facilities that will use it for medically necessary purposes within those facilities, according to the letter.
The company told the Post-Dispatch earlier in August that they would not sell to prisons and were examining whether to “more tightly control access” to the drug in the U.S.
It was not immediately clear how the company’s actions would affect the ability of Missouri and other states to use the drug, including whether Missouri had already obtained a supply of propofol or whether members of the execution team could obtain it themselves.
A spokeswoman for the Missouri attorney general’s office declined to comment Thursday and a spokesman for the Department of Corrections could not be reached for comment.
Fresenius said that use of propofol for executions would be inconsistent with the company’s mission, “caring for life.”
The company also said that a European Union Council regulation prevents “products that may reasonably be expected to be used in executions from being exported.” Propofol is manufactured in Europe, and its use for executions could cut off the supply for therapeutic use, the company said.
The German company has U.S. offices in Schaumburg, Ill.
"Fresenius Restricts Propofol Use For Executions," by Ed Silverman at Pharmalot.
Late last month, the German drugmaker wrote a letter to healthcare providers to say that using Propofol for executions is “contrary to the FDA approved indications” and “inconsistent” with its “mission” and “objects to the use of its products in any manner that is not in full accordance with approved indications.” The August 28 letter, which was posted last month on the company website but hard to find, was signed by Scott Meacham, the chief commercial officer for Fresenius Kabi USA.
As part of its plan to restrict Propofol for use in executions, the drugmaker will only ship the drug to select wholesalers and distributors that agree to resell the medication to acute care hospitals, clinics and health care facilities where its use is medically necessary. These customers must also agree not to resell Propofol to any correctional facilities and exclude shipment to retail pharmacies, according to the letter.
The Fresenius Kabi letter is available in Adobe .pdf format.
Propfol has not been used in any lethal injection executions, and - to date - Missouri is the only state that has proposed to use the drug for executions.
Earlier coverage of Missouri lethal injection issues begins at the link.