The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services recently bought a large quantity of a sodium theopental one of three drugs used in executions. Nebraska now has enough of the drug to carry out 166 executions, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. The drug has an expiration date of 2012. Nebraska has just 12 men on death row.
The state paid $2,056 to Kayem Pharmaceutical Pvt. Ltd. for 500 grams of sodium thiopental from a pharmaceuticals company in India. A Corrections spokeswoman told the Journal Star that was the minimum amount the company would sell to the state. Sodium thiopental is a barbiturate that has been used to anesthetize patients for surgery and induce medical comas. It also has been used to help terminally ill people commit suicide.
Although the FDA told the Journal Star that Nebraska can sell a percentage of the drug to other FDA approved states. However, Nebraska officials have said that Nebraska has no intention of sell the drug to other states.
There has been a shortage of the sodium theopental, which is said to cause unconsciousness in less than a minute, since last year. And the only U.S. manufacturer of the drug, Hospira Inc., said it is ending production because of death–penalty opposition overseas.
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