A friend sent me a press release a few days ago and I still find myself thinking about it. Here in the United States capital punishment is still legal in many states and is performed, frequently, by lethal injection. Prisoners sentenced to death have an IV placed in their arm which is then infused with the following three solutions:
- A barbiturate like Sodium Pentothal or Nembutal, used to induce anesthesia
- A paralytic like pancuronium bromide or succinylcholine chloride, used to stop respiration
- Potassium chloride used to stop electrical conduction in the heart
I remember a few years ago drug manufacturer Hospira, the producer of Sodium Pentothal, issued a statement that it disapproved of its drug being used in capital punishment. But, that was as far as their opposition went and, although Sodium Pentothal is in short supply, they have not to my knowledge formally discontinued supplying Sodium Pentothal to doctors who might use the drug in lethal injection. In 2010, the supply of Sodium Pentothal became limited and several states made the switch to Nembutal.
In response, Lundbeck, the producer of Nembutal, has issued a statement saying that they will no longer provide Nembutal to prisons in states where lethal injection is legal. In this press release Lundbeck announces its new distribution system, saying: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess*