Death penalty by injection in United States could be in jeopardy as European companies restriction the foreign trade of certain barbiturates.
In Europe only one nation allows capital punishment, Belarus. The other nations have a moratorium on the death penalty.
While these nations are against the killing of inmates some have had a hand when it comes to the death penalty in the United States. Until this year the drug Sodium Thiopental manufactured in Europe was sold to the United States. It is no longer available in the United States.
In proper hands Sodium Thiopental is a general anesthesia. It has a very short life, lasting just 5 to 10 minutes. In veterinary medicine it is used to induce anesthesia in animals.
When used in lethal injections a large dose of the drug is used to ensure rapid loss of consciousness along with pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. In post execution autopsies it has been noted that the level of the drug in the inmates system was insufficient to cause unconsciousness.
Texas only has enough drugs to kill six more prisoners on death row. The state uses three drugs in order to stop a death row inmate's heart. The European Commission has now forbidden the export of one of those drugs to the United States because of their stance on the death penalty.
The Daily Activist posted that Reprieve’s director, Clare Algar said, “We need to see a broad, catch-all provision to prevent any drugs from being used in capital punishment in order to ensure Europe is never again complicit in the death penalty.” Reprieve is a human rights group out of London.
Lundbeck Inc. announced in a statement that it “adamantly opposes the distressing misuse of our product in capital punishment.”
The company's Chief Executive Ulf Wiinberg said, "After much consideration, we have determined that a restricted distribution system is the most meaningful means through which we can restrict the misuse of Nembutal. While the company has never sold the product directly to prisons and therefore can’t make guarantees, we are confident that our new distribution program will play a substantial role in restricting prisons’ access to Nembutal for misuse as part of lethal injection."
In order for a shipment of the medication to reach the United States distributors have to sign an agreement that it will not be allowed to be used in a prison.
It's interesting to note that doctors do not administer the lethal drugs to inmates, it's against the the Hippocratic Oath which leaves laymen to handle complicated medicines that end a person's life. There have been several incidents were the prisoner has suffered because their executor was unable to find a suitable vein.