Opting Out of Our Degrading Death Penalty

The news in today’s New York Times that Hospira, Inc., the only FDA approved manufacturer of the lethal injection anesthetic sodium thiopental, has decided to stop making that drug has thrown the status of U.S. executions into further disarray.  There has been a shortage of the drug for a year, delaying some executions and prompting states to take unusual and often highly secretive measures to find other suppliers.  Now it is clear that the shortage will be permanent.

It is certainly NOT good news that the production of a drug with positive medical uses has been discontinued, but pharmaceuticals (and, for that matter, human beings) are not created to kill people, so using them for that purpose is bound to cause confusion, both moral and legal. 

This ongoing saga, with states scrambling to find drugs for their executions, has only served to illustrate how degrading the whole death penalty enterprise is.  All who participate in it, from the jurors, to the lawyers and judges, to the families of the victims and of the condemned, to the prison guards and wardens, to the medical professionals and drug companies like Hospira, are dragged into a system the sole purpose of which is to kill human beings, a purpose which goes against our most basic principles of human rights and human dignity.

In this case, Hospira has opted out, reiterating in its statement that capital punishment is “a use Hospira has never condoned” for their drug, and lamenting that “our many hospital customers who use the drug for its well-established medical benefits will not be able to obtain the product.”

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

2 thoughts on “Opting Out of Our Degrading Death Penalty

  1. An update that here in NY, there is a company that will provide drugs for executions. Read on…

    A LONG ISLAND-BASED COMPANY IS PROVIDING DRUGS FOR EXECUTIONS. TAKE ACTION against HENRY SCHEIN.

    Henry Schein received Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Company” award in 2010. But this drug company, based in Melville, New York, SOLD THE STATE OF KENTUCKY PANCURONIUM BROMIDE so that Kentucky could continue to perform executions.

    Other pharmaceutical suppliers, including KRS pharmaceuticals and Hospira, are refusing to sell drugs to states if the drugs might be used in lethal injections. Increasingly, there is resistance on the part of companies that have ethical statements to provide death drugs. The momentum must not stop! Let’s keep the pressure on these companies and let them know we are watching them and will make sure everyone knows about their involvement.

    What you can do:

    1. Write a letter to: Stanley Bergman, CEO and/ or Gerald Benjamin, CAO:
    HENRY SCHEIN, INC.
    135 Duryea Road
    Melville, NY 11747

    *Let them know that you oppose their providing the government with drugs for executions;
    * Emphasize that other pharmaceutical companies are no longer selling these drugs because they are not healing people, but killing them;
    * Say that you intend to raise public awareness about the issue and Henry Schein’s involvement.

    2. Call: 631-843-5500 (Henry Schein general number) and ask for a statement about their selling drugs to Kentucky for executions.
    STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES!!!

  2. An update that here in NY, there is a company that will provide drugs for executions. Read on…

    A LONG ISLAND-BASED COMPANY IS PROVIDING DRUGS FOR EXECUTIONS. TAKE ACTION against HENRY SCHEIN.

    Henry Schein received Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Company” award in 2010. But this drug company, based in Melville, New York, SOLD THE STATE OF KENTUCKY PANCURONIUM BROMIDE so that Kentucky could continue to perform executions.

    Other pharmaceutical suppliers, including KRS pharmaceuticals and Hospira, are refusing to sell drugs to states if the drugs might be used in lethal injections. Increasingly, there is resistance on the part of companies that have ethical statements to provide death drugs. The momentum must not stop! Let’s keep the pressure on these companies and let them know we are watching them and will make sure everyone knows about their involvement.

    What you can do:

    1. Write a letter to: Stanley Bergman, CEO and/ or Gerald Benjamin, CAO:
    HENRY SCHEIN, INC.
    135 Duryea Road
    Melville, NY 11747

    *Let them know that you oppose their providing the government with drugs for executions;
    * Emphasize that other pharmaceutical companies are no longer selling these drugs because they are not healing people, but killing them;
    * Say that you intend to raise public awareness about the issue and Henry Schein’s involvement.

    2. Call: 631-843-5500 (Henry Schein general number) and ask for a statement about their selling drugs to Kentucky for executions.
    STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES!!!