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Execution Blocked Over Lethal Drug Source

October 26, 2010
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The Associated Foreign Press reports, a federal judge has blocked an execution in Arizona after the state refused to divulge the origins of the drug it planned to use for his lethal injection. In the middle of an anesthetic shortage that has already forced postponement of lethal injection executions across the United States, Arizona says it has the drug in hand but is refusing to disclose where it was manufactured. The inmate was scheduled to be executed on Tuesday but his lawyers filed suit, arguing that he could die in great pain if the sodium thiopental is contaminated and doesn''t work. Federal Judge Roslyn Silver ordered Arizona on Saturday to give the name of the drug manufacturer to the inmate’s lawyers, but the state prosecutors refused, citing confidentiality laws for executions. Silver blocked the execution, saying more time is needed to consider the case, as the unidentified origins of the drug meant it could have been contaminated. "The court is unable to determine whether the drug was produced by a foreign company that follows standard operating procedures for the drug''s manufacture or that has no history of contamination in manufacturing the product," he said. Only one pharmaceutical company in the United States, Hospira, currently manufactures sodium thiopental, but it is out of stock and will not be able to resume production until the first quarter of 2011.

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