UK Blocks Export of Popular Execution Drug to US

Thiopental sodium can't be exported for use in executions
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2010 1:01 PM CST
UK Blocks Export of Popular Execution Drug to US
The UK will ban the export of an anesthetic if it is to be used in US executions.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)

Soon, the US will no longer be able to execute criminals using thiopental sodium from the UK. The UK government will issue an order requiring suppliers of the anesthetic to obtain a license before exporting to the US—and if there is a risk it will be used in executions, that license will be denied, a spokesperson tells the Wall Street Journal. The only US supplier of the drug is experiencing a shortage, causing states to scramble—Oklahoma recently got approval to use an animal euthanasia drug on humans.

The move comes after condemned Tennessee inmate Edmund Zagorski filed a lawsuit in the UK’s High Court asking the country to ban the export of the drug; Tennessee allegedly ordered the thiopental to be used on Zagorski from a foreign source. Other states, including California and Arizona, are presumed to have ordered supplies of the drug from overseas. The UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said in a court filing that the decision is meant "to underline the United Kingdom's moral opposition to the death penalty."
(More sodium thiopental stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.