"Gov. Nixon received health concerns over execution drug," is Chris Blank's AP report, via the Southeastern Missourian.
Health-care workers, medical groups and even a few patients pressured Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon before he halted what would have been the first execution with the anesthetic propofol.
The anticipated use of propofol in administering the death penalty fueled concerns that the anti-death penalty European Union could limit its export. Before he halted a planned October execution, Nixon's office received several dozen letters and messages asking him to put off the execution and to order development of a new death penalty protocol.
Nixon's office provided The Associated Press with correspondence it received before the decision. Many messages to the governor took little position on the death penalty and instead focused on propofol. The state Department of Corrections announced Tuesday executions now will use the sedative pentobarbital, which the Death Penalty Information Center says is used by 13 states.
The Missouri State Medical Association said in a letter to Nixon that propofol is a "critically important medicine" that the American Society of Anesthesiologists estimates is used in 95 percent of surgical procedures requiring an anesthetic. The medical association said tens of millions of Americans benefit annually from it.
Roughly 85 percent of the U.S. supply of propofol is made in Europe by the German company Fresenius Kabi. The EU bans trade in goods that can be used for executions and was reviewing whether to make propofol subject to the rule.
Markus Loning, human-rights commissioner for the German federal government, wrote a Sept. 30 letter urging Nixon to refrain from using the drug. Loning said turning to propofol for an execution would "almost certainly lead to strict export controls. Subsequently there would also be a severe shortage of Propofol in the United States for medical purposes."
Earlier coverage of Missouri lethal injection issues begins at the link.