Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And that train keeps a-rolling...

The State of Florida is set to murder Manuel Valle this afternoon using pentobarbital as part of its lethal drug cocktail. This despite calls from the manufacturer of the drug that its use in executions could subject the inmate to extreme pain and suffering.

Staffen Schuberg is the president of Lundbeck who makes pentobarbital under the name Nembutal. He has written two letters to Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, protesting the use of the drug.
"The use of pentobarbital outside of the approved labelling has not been established. As such Lundbeck cannot assure the safety and efficacy profiles in such instances." -- Staffen Schuberg
What could be more damning that the manufacturer of a drug telling someone not to use it because it hasn't been approved for that use? States have been scrambling to find new ways to kill inmates ever since the US supplier of sodium thiopental, Hospira, quit supplying states with the drug as a way of protesting its use in the murder of inmates.
Deborah Denno, an expert in the death penalty at Fordham university law school, said the intervention by the manufacturer itself of Nembutal in writing to the Florida governor took opposition to use of the drug to a whole new level. "I don't know how you could cast more doubt on the use of a drug than when you have the condemnation of it by its own maker."
Pentobarbital is used to put family pets to sleep but its use as a component in a lethal drug cocktail has never been tested.

It might be that the best way to put an end to the death penalty is for drug manufacturers and suppliers who don't want to be associated with the state's killing machine to require purchasers of the drugs to sign end-user license agreements that the drug will not be used in executions and that the drug will not be sold to any other entity to use in executions.

The ball is now in your court, Mr. Schuberg. What are you going to do now?

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