Pfizer Takes Strong Position Against the Use of Its Meds in Lethal Injections

Company enforces distribution restriction for its products that have been part of, or considered by some states for their lethal injection protocols.

Healthline.com’s May 24 story, “Will Pharmaceutical Companies Kill the Death Penalty?,” said Pfizer’s recent announcement to “prohibit their drugs from being used in executions has made it even more difficult for states to administer lethal injections.

"Lethal injection is the preferred means of execution on the federal level and in the 31 states where capital punishment is legal,” said Healthline.com. “Typically, the condemned person is first given an anesthetic to make them unconscious. Then they’re given drugs that stop breathing and induce cardiac arrest.”

Pfizer makes some of the medications for the first part of that process. The company's March 28 paper, “Pfizer’s Position on Use of Our Products in Lethal Injections for Capital Punishment,” said, “Pfizer’s distribution restriction limits the sale of these seven products to a select group of wholesalers, distributors, and direct purchasers under the condition that they will not resell these products to correctional institutions for use in lethal injections. Pfizer offers these products because they save or improve lives, and markets them solely for use as indicated in the product labeling.”

As of Jan. 1, 2016, there were 2,943 death row inmates in the U.S., according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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