Sole maker of execution drug says it's pulling out of market
States are seeking alternative chemicals for use in lethal injections.
January 21st, 2011
02:37 PM ET

Sole maker of execution drug says it's pulling out of market

The only U.S. manufacturer of sodium thiopental, a chemical used in executions, said today it will stop making the product.

Hospira, based in Lake Forest, Illinois, said it never intended for its chemical to be used to kill people. It intended to start making sodium thiopental at a plant in Italy, but Italian authorities required the company to guarantee the chemical would not be used in executions, Hospira said on its website.

Capital punishment is outlawed in Italy and throughout Europe.

"Given the issues surrounding the product, including the government's requirements and challenges bringing the drug back to market, Hospira has decided to exit the market," the statement said.

"We regret that issues outside of our control forced Hospira's decision to exit the market, and that our many hospital customers who use the drug for its well-established medical benefits will not be able to obtain the product from Hospira."

Apart from executions, sodium thiopental is used as an anesthetic for brief surgical procedures and some kinds of hypnosis, according to

Hospira suspended production of the drug in 2009, and many state prison systems have run out, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As a result, some states have turned to pentobarbital, a drug used by veterinarians to euthanize animals. An inmate in Oklahoma was executed in December with pentobarbital.

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Filed under: Death Penalty • Illinois • Italy • Justice
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Righton

    What happened to using ropes and guns? Those will never be hard to find.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • HAL 9000

      How about, you know, just not executing people?

      January 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. june vi

    i personal do not like the death penality the reason is they might excecute the wrong person since the sbi was not compling with the rules too many people have been wrongly convicted

    January 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JT

    in the past many people were wrongly convicted. Nowadays very few people are put to death (my state didn't execute anyone last year). With the advent of DNA evidence, witnesses, confessions, etc, there is often an overwhelming preponderance of evidence that links a suspect to a crime. Most horrific crimes don't end with the death penalty anyway, although prosecutors might seek that charge in order to strike a deal.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GuerillaGorilla

    Hrm... So they would give the people a massive overdose of a drug that calms them down and makes them susceptable to suggestion. And now they can't do that. Too bad... Guess we'll have to go back to the archiac electric chair and firing squads.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    Put the stuff in the Iranian President's drink, and the world will be a better place, I promise you. Trust me. GO JETS! GO BEARS!

    January 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve Bishop

    I say bring back the "old school" methods of execution. Drawn and quartering or burning at the stake. Maybe put the whole thing on Pay For View.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • whatnext

      As for Cameron Todd Willingham, almost certainly executed despite being innocent in 2004, you win some, you lose some.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Douglas Han

    I prefer the guillotine method. It can be reused again and again. Only needs sharpening.
    Death penalty is a must in a civilised society. You are betraying the victims who can no
    longer talk to you if you let these murderers live.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      since most civilized countries no longer use the death penalty I can't see that it is a "must".

      January 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jim Brieske

    Glass sided water tank full of sharks filmed by ABC for live public viewing of the murderer being eaten alive. Best form of execution and is supported by God.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cesar


    January 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |

    Time to stock up!

    January 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. raven

    Im a supporter of the death penalty but as a woman of faith I wouldnt bring God into it . I wouldnt presume to know what he thinks .

    January 21, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • DavidPun

      Hey, I'm no expert on this faith stuff, but I think you are doing the right thing not bringing God into the picture. If I understand the drift of his message, it is pretty clear that he has got some some serious mischief planned for people who feel all good about themselves by killing other people for any reason. Thats why I'm a bit puzzled that you describe yourself as a woman of faith. I would have thought that favoring executions and proclaiming yourself a Christian in the same breath is a bit like putting your head in a noose to show people how hanging works!

      January 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wonder Weasel

    Oh man up and light the meatheads on fire. Only costs the price of a bonfire. Shove the stupid little injection up a monkey's butt.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Stephen

    ironic US is a nation stil using capital punishment, but then again, USA is actually nowhere near being a 'free' country it claims to be. There are many other countries where people have much more freedom, liberty, and far less crime than the US.

    The American ideal is a lie. Here, the death penalty deters absolutely nothing, so it's useless.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • coldassets leave then.....C-Ya.....BUH-Bye

      January 22, 2011 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. Cesar

    What's wrong with Stephen? If Joe Blow kills my girl for kicks, the law better execute Joe Blow, or I will sooner or later; not to deter, not for justice, but out of mere hate and to get even. Why should Joe Blow walk the earth when he killed my girl? Stephen is smart enough to post, but too dumb to figure this one out.

    January 22, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • DavidPun

      Can't say I blame you for wanting revenge if some bloodthirsty moron kills your girl. Stephens point was simply that you might want to refrain from preaching to the world about how great you are when you are behaving like a bloodthirsty moron yourself.

      January 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    This drug takes all the fun out of dying, and was pulled because it can't compete with the other drugs that do the same thing, only slower. (seroquel, abilify, prozac, ritalin, etc. all lead to permanent brain damage and early death. And the children born to those on these drugs have a lifetime of poor health to look forward to, hence our nationwide health crisis)

    January 22, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
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