Death Penalty

Swiss Drug Maker Wants No Part of Nebraska's Lethal Injection Regime

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A Swiss drug company has asked Nebraska officials to return a drug it made that the state plans to use for the execution of death row inmates.

The CEO of Naari says the company did not supply the drug to the state and would never support its use in a lethal injection, the Lincoln Journal Star first reported.

Prithi Kochhar said in a Nov. 18 letter (PDF) to Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican and Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning that he was “shocked an appalled” to learn that the state’s supply of sodium thiopental, one of three drugs in Nebraska’s lethal injection protocol, had been manufactured by his company.

Kochhar asked that the drug, which he said had been “wrongfully diverted” to the state, be “returned immediately to its rightful owners,” meaning the company.

Sodium thiopental, which is no longer made in the United States, is apparently in short supply worldwide.

In his letter to Nebraska officials, Kochhar said the company had given samples of the drug to a man in India who said he wanted to use it and eventually sell it as an anesthetic in Zambia. But the man sold the samples to Nebraska officials instead.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s office issued a statement saying the drug had been approved for legal export by the government of India and approved for legal import by federal regulatory officials, the Associated Press reported. But a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections said the department had asked its supplier for more information about how he obtained the drug.

Heavican declined to comment to the Associated Press.

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