With Arkansas Executions Set to Begin, a New Foe Steps Up

Drugmakers say they don't want their drugs used in capital punishment
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 14, 2017 7:15 AM CDT
Drugmakers Challenging Arkansas Executions, Too
This combination of undated photos provided by the Arkansas Department of Correction shows death-row inmates Stacey E. Johnson, left, and Ledell Lee. Both men are scheduled for execution on April 20, 2017.    (Uncredited)

Two pharmaceutical companies asked a federal judge Thursday to prevent Arkansas from using their drugs to execute seven inmates by the end of the month, saying they object to their products being used for capital punishment, reports the AP. Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. were granted permission to file a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit by the inmates aimed at halting the unprecedented execution schedule, set to begin Monday with the lethal injection of two condemned killers. Fresenius Kabi said it appeared that it had manufactured the potassium chloride the state plans to use, while West-Ward had previously been identified by the AP as the likely manufacturer of the state's supply of midazolam.

Arkansas prison officials announced last month they had obtained a new supply of potassium chloride, clearing the way for executions to occur; Arkansas' supply of midazolam, a sedative used in flawed executions in other states, expires at the end of April. Both companies say they've put strict controls on their supplies to ensure the drugs aren't used in capital punishment and suspect Arkansas acquired them from an unauthorized seller, though a 2015 state law keeps the source of Arkansas' three lethal injection drugs secret. US District Court Judge Kristine Baker is expected to rule Friday in the inmates' request to halt the executions. The inmates are challenging the compressed execution timetable, as well as the use of midazolam. (More execution drugs stories.)

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