Issue Date: January 31, 2011
Hospira Drops Sodium Thiopental
Hospira, the only U.S.-based manufacturer of sodium thiopental, a sedative legally required in all lethal injections of U.S. death-row inmates, says it will halt production of the chemical. The company had been working on increasing production at its plant in Liscate, Italy, but the Italian parliament, invoking the European Union’s ban on capital punishment, required the company to ensure that the chemical would not be used in lethal injection. In a statement issued last week, the company, which works through wholesalers, said it could not prevent the drug from being diverted to departments of correction for use in executions. Hospira claims that it has never condoned the use of sodium thiopental for execution. The drug, the first one of three administered in U.S. lethal injections, is a rapid-onset short-acting barbiturate general anesthetic also used in various procedures in hospitals.
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