Tuesday, December 20, 2011

EU imposes strict controls on 'execution drug' exports

The European Commission has imposed strict controls on the export of drugs used to carry out lethal injections.
EU firms wanting to export drugs such as the sedative sodium thiopental will now first have to ensure the product is not going to be used for executions.
The ruling could slow down the rate of executions in the US, where the drug must be used by law in lethal injections but is in short supply.
European rights groups welcomed the restrictions as a "positive step".
The European Commission - the executive arm of the EU - said it wanted to ensure that no drugs were being exported from the union for use in "capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".
The death penalty is banned in all 27 EU states and the bloc has been calling for its abolition worldwide.
Sodium thiopental is legally required to be used in lethal injections in the 34 US states that still practice the death penalty.
It is the first of three drugs used for executions, intended to make the condemned person unconscious before deadly drugs are administered.
"Distressing misuse" Earlier this year its only US manufacturer, Hospira, stopped making the drug.
It is still made in Britain, Italy, Germany, Austria and Denmark, but in April, an emergency export ban was imposed in the UK after the human rights group Reprieve sued the government.
Indian produce Kayem Pharmaceuticals has also said it will no longer sell the drug to US prisons.
The shortage in the US has already led to a marked(...)Read more.

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