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Monday, June 02, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Indiana plan to use untested sedative in executions draws opposition from drug maker, attorney"

Tom Coyle of the AP reported May 30th in a long story - some quotes:

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — The maker of a drug Indiana wants to use for its first execution since 2009 says the anesthetic, which has never been used in lethal injections, isn't approved for that purpose and that it only recently learned of the state's intentions.

Stephen Mock, spokesman for Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Par Pharmaceutical, said Friday the company didn't know Indiana had purchased Brevital for use in an execution until seeing news reports about it. He said the company is amending its distribution agreements to state that the product should not be sold to departments of correction but won't try to stop Indiana from using the Brevital it already has.

Indiana officials are standing by their decision to switch to Brevital because of a shortage of sodium thiopental. They say the drug, a powerful anesthetic used in hospitals for decades, is appropriate for an execution.

"Brevital, the way we intend to use it, will do exactly what it's intended purpose is, which is to induce a deep, painless, unconsciousness," Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison said Friday.

Indiana's switch to Brevital, also known as methohexital sodium, as part of its three-drug lethal injection series is its first change in execution protocol since it stopped using the electric chair in 1995.

The move comes amid increased scrutiny of lethal injection drugs. Drug makers have begun refusing to sell their products for use in executions, and condemned men in Ohio and Oklahoma took an unusually long time to die after being injected with different drug combinations.

"It sounds to me like Indiana intends to experiment with some new drug and see what happens, and that concerns me greatly," said Steve Schutte, an attorney representing Michael Dean Overstreet, who is expected to be the next inmate executed in Indiana.

The use of Brevital was successfully challenged in Oklahoma in 2010 by a lawyer who contended it was experimental and might lead to a "torturous" death.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 2, 2014 12:46 PM
Posted to Indiana Government