Friday, January 21, 2011

FDA Helps States Secure Execution Drug

The Washington Post is reporting that the Food and Drug Administration has quietly helped Arizona and California obtain a scarce type of sodium thiopental so the states could continue putting inmates to death. The FDA has long maintained that it has nothing to do with, nor any oversight of drugs used in executions.

After Arizona officials explained their need for the drug to carry out a pending execution, an FDA official recommended that a shipment of the drug "be processed expeditiously to us as it was for the purpose of executions and not for use by the general public,” reported the Post.

"The FDA is actively assisting these states, but they're not enforcing the law, and they're not doing anything to determine that the drugs are what they're claimed to be and that they work properly," Natasha Minkser, death penalty policy director for the ACLU's Northern California chapter told the Post.

The FDA is required by law to ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs imported for medical purpose. Agency officials have maintained that their oversight does not extend to drugs for executions.

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