Death Penalty

Federal Judge Says FDA Acted 'Contrary to Law' By OKing Foreign Execution Drug for Prison Use

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Siding with death-row inmates in Arizona, California, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the Food and Drug Administration acted in a manner that was “contrary to law, arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion” by allowing an unapproved execution drug manufactured overseas to be shipped into this country.

In addition to blocking the use of sodium thiopental in this country, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon is requiring the FDA to notify prisons that may have the drug that it is illegal and should immediately be returned to the federal agency, according to the Associated Press and Bloomberg.

The barbiturate is used as an anesthetic. The Blog of Legal Times provides a link to Tuesday’s ruling (PDF).

The FDA declined to comment on the ruling or a possible appeal when contacted by the AP.

Related coverage: “US Supreme Court Refuses to Stay Videotaped Execution, Now Set for Tonight”

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