Drug company halts Arkansas executions


Six executions in Arkansas which were supposed to take place Monday were stopped by a temporary restraining order on Friday after a pharmaceutical company stated that they did not want their drug to be used in the lethal-injection process.

Convicted murderer Bruce Earl Ward was the first of seven inmates who was supposed to be put to death by lethal injection, but Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen’s orders came hours after the Arkansas Supreme Court granted an emergency stay to delay his execution.

Griffen has publicly aired his views against capital punishment in the past. “He should have recused himself from this case,” said Rutledge spokesman Judd Deere on Friday. “Attorney General Rutledge intends to file an emergency request with the Arkansas Supreme Court to vacate the order as soon as possible.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson had signed off on the order to put to death eight convicted murderers from April 17-27, this would reportedly be the most inmates executed in under two weeks since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

Arkansas officials have since been dealing with several legal challenges, including one filed by McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc. on Thursday. The pharmaceutical company claimed that they did not know that the state planned to use its drug in lethal injection executions.

“The Arkansas Department of Correction intentionally sought to circumvent McKesson’s policies to procure Pfizer’s vecuronium bromide under the auspices that it would be used for medical purposes in ADC’s health facility,” said the company in a Thursday statement to the Associated Press.

“Upon learning that ADC was potentially holding the product for lethal injection purposes, McKesson immediately requested and was assured by ADC that the product would be returned,” the statement said. “McKesson issued a full refund to ADC, and made several additional requests for the product, but the product was never returned.”

H/T: The Washington Times

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