Monday, April 18, 2011

Tennessee Breaking Law With Lethal Injection

It comes as little surprise that our government - from the local, state and federal levels - simply make mistakes. Errors occur in matters of bookkeeping, record-keeping, finance, and even typos are in evidence in legislation which pass through the many hurdles of sub-committees and committees.

One area which needs to be as mistake-free as humanly possible is the execution of prisoners - the death penalty. Wrongful execution - the deaths of those found to be innocent - has been rigorously studied nationwide. Execution of those innocently charged is not a minor glitch. It's a real horror story.

And now Tennessee, along with many other states - are under court orders to halt lethal injections since the drugs used have been illegally obtained. The Tennessean newspaper reports these drugs have been illegally obtained via an unregulated overseas supplier:

A federal lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C., accuses multiple states, Tennessee included, of possibly violating drug import laws by purchasing thiopental from a British company called Dream Pharma, run out of the back of a London driving school. Nebraska and South Dakota, obtained 500 milligrams each from an Indian company called Kayem Pharmaceutical."

Seems this state (and others) are breaking the law in their plans to execute criminals.

The medicine under review is in short supply:

[due to] a nationwide shortage of that key drug used in lethal injections has largely ground to a halt executions across the nation. Like other states, Tennessee has had to turn over its stock of sodium thiopental to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration because of allegations it may have been illegally obtained from an unregulated overseas supplier."

Another chemical, Pentobarbital, has become a recent substitute, even though the drug's Danish manufacturer, has issued to following statement regarding use of the drug for lethal injection:

"Lundbeck's position regarding the misuse of pentobarbital in execution of prisoners

Lundbeck is dedicated to saving people’s lives. Use of our products to end lives contradicts everything we’re in business to do, which is to provide therapies that improve people’s lives. Lundbeck is opposed to the use of its product for the purpose of capital punishment.

Lundbeck markets pentobarbital solely for its approved use, among other things to treat serious conditions such as a severe and life threatening emergency epilepsy that results in 42,000 deaths a year in the US if not treated effectively. It is evident that use of this product to carry out the death penalty in US prisons falls outside its intended use.

We have engaged in a constructive dialogue with human rights advocates to discuss and evaluate ideas to prevent the incorrect use of our product for lethal injections. We have carried out a thorough assessment of ways to control distribution for use in capital punishment.

Lundbeck does not control the application of pentobarbital. And based on our evaluation and the advice of external experts, we have concluded that there are no viable steps Lundbeck can take to prevent end-users from obtaining the product for unapproved use, short of withdrawing the product from the market. However, taking pentobarbital off the market would be a tragedy for the patients who benefit from legitimate uses of this important therapy.

Medical experts and human rights advocates alike agree that discontinuation of the supply of pentobarbital could have a significant negative effect on patient care.

We will continue to urge states in the US to refrain from using pentobarbital for the execution of prisoners as it contradicts everything we stand for as a company.


  1. Hey Joe! Nice little blog you've got here.

    Anyway: Why do you support keeping murderers and thugs alive and cared-for by the upstanding, hard-working taxpayers they victimize, rob, rape and kill?

    (Hyperbole's a two-way street, and I drive an APC down it. Want to try this conversation thing again, or... what? Doesn't matter to me, so follow your heart. Or do whatever your handler tells you to do. I don't know how those kinds of relationships work, to be honest.)

  2. Well, Brian -- nowhere in this post will you find that i call for keeping "murderers and thugs alive and cared-for by the upstanding, hard-working taxpayers they victimize, rob, rape and kill"

    likewise, death penalties for "thugs" and "thieves" is a bit harsh, yes?

    the point of this post is plain: TN, along with several other states, break the law by importing lethal injection drugs from unregulated suppliers.

    and yes, for the record, i am opposed to the death penalty. read the link above to for much more info on the problems with how such sentences are mishandled (at the least).

    and as for a "handler"?? are you kidding? i write these posts based on my desire to share information so often un-reported by the press or by groups which are utterly led by "handlers".

  3. In order:

    * I know. Just like there was nowhere in my post on Hack's blog that said I was an advocate of "secret government".

    You showed me that you value the use of hyperbole in conversation with said remark, so I just returned the favor. If that's not what you want, kindly demonstrate any adjustments that need to be made in your next reply (if there is one).

    * Not in my opinion, but it is just my opinion. I can't stand creatures that prey on actual humans and see no reason to care for and keep these creatures.

    Then again, I'm also a big fan of caning Singapore-style and of public hangings (environmentally friendly AND quite cost-effective), so take the opinion as you will.

    * Sounds like a technical break. I mean, it's not like the state is smuggling drugs, and it's not like these chemical compounds are widely available. (And there IS a hefty amount of spin to your report, which DOES make it a little less credible in this reader's eyes, so I'd also like to hear the state's side and find the middle. It's usually where the truth hangs out.)

    * Meh. I'm in favor of it. Agree to disagree, I suppose. It's not a winnable argument for either side. (It rarely ever is.)

    * Glad the snark found its intended mark. ;-) Did you know that one can learn a LOT about a person's personality just with a well-placed barb? (I bet you did.)

    So anyway. I hope that answers your questions. I have but one myself:

    More hyperbole or actual conversation? (Or as I like to say, "cake or the death of an argument?")

  4. you remind me of the fellow who once asked me "why do you like to rattle people's cages?" to which i replied "why are you living in a cage?"

  5. And THAT comment reminds me of Homer Simpson shaking a bird cage in Ray Patterson's office.

    So. Where were we? Or is this the end? It's hard to tell sometimes.