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.