The Island of Doctor Musso

In the 19th century H.G. Wells novel The Island of Doctor Moreau the narrator, Edward Prendick, at first fears that the mad Doctor is carrying out experiments on live human beings.  “Could it be possible, I thought, that such a thing as the vivisection of men was carried on here?”

It turns out Dr. Moreau is actually performing grotesque surgeries on animals to try to turn them into humans.  He had been run out of England after a journalist exposed his “wantonly cruel” experiments on animals.

Last night, in 21st century Georgia, state officials, with the participation of Dr. Carlo Musso, carried out something of an experiment on Roy Blankenship.  For the first time in Georgia, the anesthetic Nembutal was used in an execution, despite warnings from its manufacturer that it was not safe for that purpose.  Dr. Musso took part despite the fact that he is alleged to have illegally imported and sold Nembutal to other states without the proper license.


Georgia's Shady Death Penalty Drug Deals

As George Costanza once said: “This thing is like an onion:  the more layers you peel, the more it stinks!

On June 23, Georgia intends execute Roy Blankenship.  For the first time they plan to use Nembutol, the anesthetic they acquired to replace sodium thiopental in their lethal injection protocols (their supply of sodium thiopental was seized by the DEA).

Lundbeck, the Nembutol’s Danish manufacturer has written a second letter demanding that their drug not be used in state killing, now pointing out that the they “cannot assure the associated safety” of the drug.

You can read both letters here.


European Drugs And U.S. Executions

Ever since the production of the anesthetic sodium thiopental was discontinued by its U.S. source (Hospira, Inc.), because of concerns over its use in executions, pentobarbital has rapidly become the anesthetic of choice for U.S. executioners.  Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas have already carried out executions with it.

Denmark-based Lundbeck is the company whose version of pentobarbital (known as Nembutal) has been used in all these executions, and is slated to be used in at least 6 of the 7 executions scheduled for the rest of June.  (Georgia officials claim they have a different version of pentobarbital, provided to them by Cardinal Health of Ohio; Lundbeck says its drug HAS been sold to Georgia.)

Lundbeck has always objected to the use of its drug in executions, stating things like: “This is fully against what we stand for.”   But prison officials in executing states have been unmoved by this rhetoric.  So now, after some aggressive prompting from campaigning groups like Reprieve, Lundbeck says they are planning to take things up a notch.