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Where Do States Get Drugs That are Used For the Death Penalty? Shocking Results

The drugs that are used in the death penalty come from a company that objects to these drugs being used for that purpose. Hospira is a pharmaceutical company that produces the worlds largest amount of injectable drugs. The company manufactures the two drugs midazolam a sedative and the painkiller hydromophone. The company does not recommend that these drugs be used for the death penalty, because the drugs are designed to help patients in pain and increase life expectancy.

Lethal Injection Table

Controversial drugs are being used for lethal injection. Image From: lethalinjection.org

These same drugs are being used by Ohio and other states around the country for capital punishment, despite Hospira’s objections. Ohio purchased the Hospira drugs to be used in the death penalty from a San Francisco based drug distributor sometime between 2012 and 2013. Back in 2009 Ohio announced that it would only use a single drug for the death penalty sodium thiopental, but as that drug became more and more scarce Ohio again changed the drugs it would use for lethal injection. At this time in 2011 Ohio began using a drug called pentobarbital sold by Danish pharmaceutical companies, until they decided to stop selling pentobarbital to prisons in the United States. Now Ohio prisons are using the two controversial drugs midazolam a sedative and the painkiller hydromophone for the death penalty.

The two drugs were first used last month for the killer of pregnant woman and did not work as planned, as they drug out the supposed to be quick execution. Another execution took place on Jan. 16, where 53 year-old Dennis McGuire was left snoring on the table for almost a 30 minutes; his family is suing the state for a cruel and unusual death. Louisiana got its lethal injection procedures from Ohio and uses the same two drugs. Florida uses the drug midazolam for its capital punishment, but will not reveal where its get the drug.

Even though Hospira does not approve of the use of their drugs for the death penalty there’s not much they can do about because of the intricate market of how drugs are distributed and sold by various companies in the U.S. A number of other drug companies have stopped selling prisons drugs that are used for the death penalty, leaving states with fewer and fewer options.

Where Do States Get Drugs That are Used For the Death Penalty? Shocking Results.

About Seth Barr


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