As discussed previously here, the lethal injection drug sodium thiopental has been in short supply, and states have been running out. Its manufacturer, Hospira, won’t be able to make more until at least early next year. Yet some states have mysteriously been able to get new supplies. Oklahoma carried out an execution last night with drugs they may have obtained illegally from Arkansas. The sudden appearance of a new batch of sodium thiopental in California has raised questions about whether they may have acquired it from overseas, and, like California, Arizona is refusing to reveal where it got its recent supply of the drug.
All this so states can continue to kill prisoners.
Hospira’s plea for states to stop using their product in executions may have fallen on deaf ears, but there could legal ramifications if states are acquiring FDA regulated drugs illegally. According to the Daily Beast, citing the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, “Oklahoma did not consult a DEA registrant in obtaining the drug from Arkansas and filed no paperwork recording the transaction,” as is required by Federal law.
California’s new batch of sodium thiopental expires in 2014. Hospira’s spokesman Dainel Rosenberg to the Arizona Republic, “The expiration dates for lots last manufactured by Hospira are for 2011. Therefore, product with an expiration date of 2014 cannot be Hospira product.” Since Hospira is the only FDA approved manufacturer of this drug, what is it that California has?
Arizona is scheduled to execute Jeffrey Landrigan on October 26, but is also concealing where or how it acquired the sodium thiopental it plans to us, telling the Arizona paper only “The Department has lawfully obtained the necessary chemicals under its current written protocol ( . . . ) in sufficient quantity for an execution.”
We have a right to know how our states are carrying out this most extreme act of punishment. Treating the acquisition of lethal injection drugs as if it were some big national security secret is not only suspicious. It is an insult to the public in whose name these states are zealously trying to kill people.