California corrections officials recently disclosed that they have imported a large quantity of sodium thiopental the key drug used in lethal-injection executions and are awaiting approval of the British-made product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation paid a British distributor $36,415 for 521 grams of sodium thiopental made by Archimedes Pharma, said department spokeswoman Terry Thornton.
Each execution requires 3 grams of sodium thiopental plus an equivalent amount as emergency backup. The imported supplies would be sufficient to put to death about 9condemned prisoners by the state regulations, reported the Times.
A nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental has delayed executions in several states. Sodium thiopental is a powerful barbiturate used to anesthetize condemned prisoners in lethal injection executions. According to the Times, California's last few grams of the drug expired in September, complicating state efforts to resume executions after a five-year hiatus.
The sodium thiopental made by Archimedes Pharma was shipped ahead of Britain's decision late last month to bar exports of the drug, which is also used in surgery and to euthanize animals. I recently wrote about the U.K. ban, http://mattmangino.blogspot.com/2010/12/uk-bans-export-of-execution-drug.html. All European nations have renounced capital punishment, and Britain came under fire for making the drug available to U.S. states for executions.
To read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-execution-drug-20101208,0,5298103.story?track=rss