Pfizer, the biggest pharmaceutical company in the US, has voiced its objections to its products being used in lethal injections for capital punishment, stressing the fact that its drugs are intended to actually save the lives of patients instead of the opposite.
The company has published a global policy paper on the matter, outlining its stance on such matters and saying that the organisation’s responsibility is to ensure its products are available to those people who rely on their drugs for medically necessary purposes.
“At the same time, we are enforcing a distribution restriction for specific products that have been part of, or considered by some states for their lethal injection protocols. These products include pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide and vecuronium bromide,” the policy paper explains.
Distribution of these seven products has been restricted to a group of direct purchasers, distributors and wholesalers on the condition that they will not resell them to correctional institutions to be used in lethal injections.
In the US, lethal injection has been the most common form of execution for years – but an EU ban on the export of certain drugs a few years ago saw manufacturers doing the same, so those in correctional institutions have had to find other drug mixtures in order to administer lethal injections.
Human rights groups have welcomed this latest move from Pfizer but have also warned that it could lead to a rise in the use of unlicensed drugs.
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