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Texas Sues FDA Over Lethal Injection Drugs

Image: Texas Sues FDA Over Lethal Injection Drugs

This image of a gurney used for lethal injection of death penalty convicts at Santa Fe, New Mexico State Penitentiary was taken March 9, 2012. (Conchasdiver/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 08:50 AM

Texas sued the FDA on Tuesday over the agency's seizure of lethal injection drugs it took from the state in 2015.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton charged in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Galveston that the Food and Drug Administration took 1,000 vials of sodium thiopental in July 2015 that was meant for lethal injections, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

In a statement, Paxton's office said that the drug, which was purchased by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, is continuing to be held illegally and the agency failed to rule on the drug's use within a reasonable period.

"There are only two reasons why the FDA would take 17 months to make a final decision on Texas' importation of thiopental sodium: gross incompetence or willful obstruction," Paxton said in the statement.

"The FDA has an obligation to fulfill its responsibilities faithfully and in a timely manner. My office will not allow the FDA to sit on its hands and thereby impair Texas' responsibility to carry out its law enforcement duties," he added.

CNN reported that 31 states use lethal injection as the primary means of execution. European drug manufacturers started to ban exports of the cocktail ingredients to the United States in 2010. Concerns over the use of sodium thiopental in executions led Hospira, based in Illinois, to stop making the drug, while Denmark-based Lundbeck banned U.S. prisons from using its pentobarbital, CNN said.

Sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, puts the prisoner to sleep during the lethal injection process, followed by pancuronium bromide, which brings on paralysis, CNN said. Potassium chloride is then used to stops the heart.

At the time of the 2015 drug seizure, the FDA stated that it was relying on court opinions that determined that the drug was unapproved for humans and prohibited from importation into the country, the American-Statesman reported.

"The FDA does not comment on possible, pending or ongoing litigation," Lyndsay Meyer, an FDA press officer, told CNN about the case.

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Texas sued the FDA on Tuesday over the agency's seizure of lethal injection drugs it took from the state in 2015.
texas, sues, fda, lethal injection, drugs
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2017-50-05
Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 08:50 AM
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