Tuesday, May 27, 2014

European Drug Companies Halt Use of Drugs for Lethal Injection

 As a medical provider, I've seen drugs used on-label (approved by the FDA) and off-label (uses not approved by the FDA.) I've seen people misuse their prescribed medications and I've seen illegal drug use.

What's interesting is that European drug companies are now using a moral standard for supplying drugs to the US-- and that is they don't want them used in executions.

First of all, what are the drugs used in an execution?

1. An anesthetic. This puts the prisoner to sleep.
2. A paralyzing agent. Which stops muscles from working including the muscles of respiration.
2. Potassium Chloride. Which stops the heart from beathing.

The issue with European drug companies was using their drugs to anesthetize prisoners for execution and they began prohibiting the sale of these drugs to prisons or to distribution companies that would then sell them to prisons.

This issue became more intense last fall when the company that manufactures Propofol (which has been blamed for Michael Jackson's death) refused all US sale when they found out it was going to be used in an execution. However, Propofol is widely used in hospitals as sedation for shorter procedures. Its effects wear off quickly which allow patients to wake up sooner from their procedure and subsequently, go home sooner as well.

This ended up not happening to the point where it affected patient care but the EU pharmaceutical companies stand firm in not allowing their drugs to be used for executions.

What about you? Do you think a company should be allowed to use their moral standard when it comes to their product?  


  1. There is a perverse logic here. If it is right to penalize Christian businesses for practicing the faith of their owners by restricting services, then it is entirely reasonable to shut down the European Pharmaceuticals for having the temerity to do the same! :~) Not going to happen.

  2. I know, right? I kind of felt the same way. It's okay to want to prohibit the use of medication to end a prisoner's life but not so much when a company with a religious belief doesn't want to pay for a drug that would end a child's life. Very interesting times.