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USA | The Dreadful Failure of Lethal Injection

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Editor’s Note: This column is the product of a research collaboration with five Amherst College students, Mattea Denny, Nicolas Graber-Mitchell, Greene Ko, Rose Mroczka, and Lauren Pelosi. America’s death penalty continues to fall out of favor, a well-known fact. When the year started, eight executions were scheduled for February and March in five different states. But all of them are now on hold, and two of the three executions that were set for April already have been halted. While advocacy for the end of the death penalty has played some role, it is the decomposition of the lethal injection paradigm that has truly driven down execution numbers. We have now seen a decade of chaos and experimentation as death penalty jurisdictions tried to find reliable sources of drugs to carry out executions. States rolled out new drugs, but things did not go smoothly. The number of mishaps associated with lethal injection increased substantially. From 2010-2020, an already problematic method of ex

Dutch pharma firm reprimanded for drug used in U.S. executions

The Dutch branch of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reprimanded pharmaceutical company Mylan for doing to little to prevent their drugs being used in executions in the United States, the Volkskrant reports.

The OECD reprimanded Mylan at the insistence of death penalty lawyer Bart Staperd.

The pharmaceutical company now has to update its sales policy and make sure that their products are not used in executions. 

Mylan is originally an American company, but is established in the Netherlands for tax reasons. It therefore has to comply with Dutch human rights laws and provisions.

The drug involved is muscle relaxant rocuronium bromide. In the United States it is used as part of the cocktail given to death penalty prisoners at their execution.

Mylan initially defended itself by claiming that they do not always have control over the distribution of the drug. They sell rocuronium bromide wholesale to American hospitals, to be used for anesthesia in medical treatments. It is not directly supplied to prisons.

The OECD does not find that excuse acceptable, and instructed Mylan to better monitor the trade of the drug, even after they sold it. The company now promised to put more effort into monitoring where the drug ends up.

Source: nltimes.nl, April 12, 2016

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