A U.S. drug maker has halted its production of a key death penalty drug in 2011. Hospira Inc. is the sole maker of the lethal injection drug, and it has stopped producing it because of opposition to capital punishment overseas.
The death penalty drug sodium thiopental has been in short supply lately, and with this new news about it means that executions could be delayed throughout the U.S. Many states have had to put executions on hold recently, and now since the drug will no longer be made, the future of the executions is in doubt.
The reason that Hospira Inc. will not produce any more of the sodium thiopental is because it recently moved its factory from North Carolina to Liscate, Italy. Italian authorities demanded that the drug manufactured in the country not be used to put prisoners to death. Because the company didnÂ’t feel that they could assure the Italian government that the drug wouldnÂ’t be used in executions, they have just decided to stop producing it altogether.
Currently, there are 35 states that use lethal injection for executions, and all but one of them uses sodium thiopental as part of the three-drug combination. In order for states to use a different drug, the law will have to be changed in most places.
In addition to the lengthy process of changing the laws, states will also likely face lawsuits from death row inmates because the constitution protects inmates from cruel and unusual punishment.
Without access to the death penalty drug, it is going to be tough for states to conduct executions. It is a little strange that the best foil to capital punishment in the U.S. actually came from a foreign country. Could this be the beginning of the end for the death penalty in the U.S., or will the states come up with another way?
Â© Copyright: News Today Online by Kate JamesÂ at Gather.com