Judge Orders on Execution Drugs Temporarily Halts Remaining Executions

LITTLE ROCK, ARK (localmemphis.com) -  A Judge issues a temporary restraining order on the use of one execution drug following a request from a company, halting the six planned executions. 

Mckesson-Medical-Surgical Inc. filed a request to the court asking the judge to prohibit the use of Vercurium Bromide, one of the three drugs used in the execution protocol in Arkansas.  

McKesson Corporation issued the following statement in response to the Arkansas Department of Correction’s planned executions:

The Arkansas Department of Correction intentionally sought to circumvent McKesson’s policies to procure Pfizer’s vecuronium bromide under the auspices that it would be used for medical purposes in ADC’s health facility. Upon learning that ADC was potentially holding the product for lethal injection purposes, McKesson immediately requested and was assured by ADC that the product would be returned. McKesson issued a full refund to ADC, and made several additional requests for the product, but the product was never returned.


As of April 13, 2017, ADC continues to hold McKesson’s product despite the company’s repeated attempts to compel ADC to either return the product or assure us in writing that the products will not be used for lethal injection purposes. McKesson is considering all possible means by which to secure the return of the product, up to and including legal action. 


This means questions have been raised about the state's tactics in obtaining all three drugs used in the process. Two manufacturers filed court papers yesterday saying that the state had gone outside approved channels to obtain midazolam, a sedative, and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. The McKesson-distributed drug is a paralytic.

I've sought additional comment from the Correction Department. Wendy Kelley, the director, said yesterday in court that one drug, the potassium chloride, had been "donated." Source of drugs is an important question as to purity, proper storage and preparation.

The Arkansas Attorney General's office released the following statement:


“As a public opponent of capital punishment, Judge Griffen should have recused himself from this case. Attorney General Rutledge intends to file an emergency request with the Arkansas Supreme Court to vacate the order as soon as possible.”

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