Alabama bought lethal injection drugs on black market, feds seized them

Alabama, like several other states, had become so desperate for a supplier that it turned to the black market, the Atlantic reported in a story this week. The federal government did not approve and the Drug Enforcement Administration seized the drugs from several states…

Until 2010, states bought the sedative sodium thiopental from the U.S.-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Hospira. However, Hospira stopped making the drug that year after the Food and Drug Administration discovered that its plant in North Carolina had been producing contaminated drugs…

“Since Hospira had been the only FDA-approved supplier of sodium thiopental, states that had imported it had done so illegally,” the Atlantic reports. “Prisons had become, in effect, drug smugglers, and while the FDA may have been willing to look the other way, the DEA was not. In March 2011, agents seized Georgia’s supply of sodium thiopental. In April, they seized Tennessee’s, Kentucky’s, South Carolina’s, and Alabama’s.” …

The Cruel and Unusual Execution of Clayton Lockett

Pentobarbital was by now no longer available from Lundbeck, but Fretland learned that compounding pharmacies were copying execution drugs and selling them to prisons. Compounding pharmacies exist to fill niche needs—for example, making a version of a drug for a patient who is allergic to an additive in the mass-market product. Part drug company, part pharmacy, they operate in a gray area with little oversight. (In April 2013, after a deadly meningitis outbreak was traced to a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, FDA officials announced that they had inspected about 30 compounding pharmacies and found unsanitary conditions in all but one of them.) …

If you’re a chronic pain patient who is considering getting steroid injections, I would find out the source of the the drugs the doctor is going to use before you have the procedure.  Research the company where the drugs are being manufactured and find out if there have been problems in the past.

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