Drug Company: Stop Using Our Product For Executions

Hospira, is the lone US company that manufactures sodium thiopental, the anesthetic used in all lethal injections (both the three drug and the new one drug methods).  Today, the company sent a letter to all states urging them to stop using the drug for executions.

According to Ohio’s The Dispatch,  which obtained a copy of the letter, Hospira vice president Dr. Kees Groenhout wrote:

Hospira provides these products because they improve or save lives and markets them solely for use as indicated on the product labeling. As such, we do not support the use of any of our products in capital-punishment procedures.

There is a worldwide shortage of the drug, which is due, according to Hospira, to “manufacturing issues,” so its continued use for killing, rather than for its intended medical use, is especially abhorrent.  With an execution scheduled in Georgia tonight, and many more scheduled through the end of the year, it remains to be seen how the states, including Ohio, will respond, or, if there is no response, what legal action Hospira could take.

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21 thoughts on “Drug Company: Stop Using Our Product For Executions

  1. Stop making the drug, and wham O.. there goes the ungodly, and barbaric death penalty. You (Hospira) are just as accountable as those who administer this drug in an execution. America is no better than Iran. You both Murder intentionally. God will never Bless America under these terms.

  2. @Mark – there is an intended medical use for the drug so to stop making it altogether is not the answer.

  3. Sodium thiopental is essential in procedures such as lumpectomies, colonoscopies, open biopsies and a myriad of other vital medical procedures. Because of Michael Jackson's abuse, there has been a shortage and doctors have had to resort to more dangerous anesthesia, some requiring intubation. We need to end the shortage by having more rather than less made.
    We will not eliminate the death penalty by ceasing production.

  4. This drug has legitimate uses. No one asked the company if it could be used for murder. I'm no friend of the drug companies, but this has been used on me several times, and I likely would not be alive had it not. Mark, people that want to kill will always find a way.

  5. This is the most courageous stand I've seen a pharmaceutical company take on pretty much any issue. Bravo. I hope to see more.

    Mark Hough: Sorry, but as for demanding the company not make the product — that's ridiculous. Many, many drugs can be toxic if misused. Are you going to demand that the makers of digoxin, insulin or morphine stop producing these vital drugs because each can be used to commit murder? Hospira has taken a courageous stand and should be commended for doing so. It's the state and federal governments of the U.S.A. that have to answer for their ongoing choice to commit pointless homicide for political gain.

    (Full disclosure: I have no connection to Hospira or any pharmaceutical company.)

  6. It seems to me that, just like Microsoft has copyrights on all its software and we must accept their terms of use and companies like ADM and Monsanto have patents on its products whereby we must accept the terms of their use, likewise, Hospira should insist on its product not being used in capital punishment. Violators could be sued for breaching the use agreement.

  7. Stop making the drug, and wham O.. there goes the ungodly, and barbaric death penalty. You (Hospira) are just as accountable as those who administer this drug in an execution. America is no better than Iran. You both Murder intentionally. God will never Bless America under these terms.

  8. @Mark – there is an intended medical use for the drug so to stop making it altogether is not the answer.

  9. Sodium thiopental is essential in procedures such as lumpectomies, colonoscopies, open biopsies and a myriad of other vital medical procedures. Because of Michael Jackson’s abuse, there has been a shortage and doctors have had to resort to more dangerous anesthesia, some requiring intubation. We need to end the shortage by having more rather than less made.
    We will not eliminate the death penalty by ceasing production.

  10. This drug has legitimate uses. No one asked the company if it could be used for murder. I’m no friend of the drug companies, but this has been used on me several times, and I likely would not be alive had it not. Mark, people that want to kill will always find a way.

  11. This is the most courageous stand I’ve seen a pharmaceutical company take on pretty much any issue. Bravo. I hope to see more.

    Mark Hough: Sorry, but as for demanding the company not make the product — that’s ridiculous. Many, many drugs can be toxic if misused. Are you going to demand that the makers of digoxin, insulin or morphine stop producing these vital drugs because each can be used to commit murder? Hospira has taken a courageous stand and should be commended for doing so. It’s the state and federal governments of the U.S.A. that have to answer for their ongoing choice to commit pointless homicide for political gain.

    (Full disclosure: I have no connection to Hospira or any pharmaceutical company.)

  12. Would this be considered “off label” use and therefore subject to litigation? Interesting thought.

  13. It seems to me that, just like Microsoft has copyrights on all its software and we must accept their terms of use and companies like ADM and Monsanto have patents on its products whereby we must accept the terms of their use, likewise, Hospira should insist on its product not being used in capital punishment. Violators could be sued for breaching the use agreement.

  14. I believe Tina (above) has a valid point as Hospira has urged many Dept. of Corrections to stop using this drug for death penalty inmates since the FDA has not approved this drug for use in the death penalty . However, the sodium thiopental is supplied by a third party which Hospira refuses to name. Of course, if an action was brought against them for off label use, a subpoena would certainly be issued for disclosure. Guess who is going to look after number one! Hopefully the Obama Administration will do what they say they are going to do and monitor more closely!!

  15. I believe Tina (above) has a valid point as Hospira has urged many Dept. of Corrections to stop using this drug for death penalty inmates since the FDA has not approved this drug for use in the death penalty . However, the sodium thiopental is supplied by a third party which Hospira refuses to name. Of course, if an action was brought against them for off label use, a subpoena would certainly be issued for disclosure. Guess who is going to look after number one! Hopefully the Obama Administration will do what they say they are going to do and monitor more closely!!