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Pharma firm stops making death drug

March 2011

A pharmaceuticals multinational is to cease manufacturing a drug used in US executions after pressure from the Italian government, which hosts one of its plants.

US-based Hospira decided to discontinue its brand of sodium thiopental, a powerful anaesthetic used in death penalty states for executions, after the Italian authorities blocked its attempts to move production to Milan from North Carolina, where there were supply problems.

Although the drug has medical benefits, the authorities demanded assurances that it would not be used for executions.  
Hospira said: ‘We cannot take the risk that we will be held liable by the Italian authorities if the product is diverted for use in capital punishment.’ It will therefore ‘exit the sodium thiopental market’.

This is expected to cause problems for most of the US states that have the death penalty, as stocks of the drug are already low. In October Arizona used sodium thiopental from the UK in an execution, prompting the British government to ban further export. 




Hospira | Global |

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