Legality of Nebraska's purchase of lethal injection drug questioned
UPDATE: January 11, 2012
OMAHA, Nebraska: Death row inmate Michael Ryan filed a motion at the end of 2011 asking the state to prove the legality of its possession of sodium thiopental, the drug used in lethal injections. The motion was filed the day after the Supreme Court denied Ryan's request to halt his execution.
Nebraska's Attorney General Jon Bruning, has said the state legally obtained the drug needed for lethal injections and should proceed with executions. It has been proved that the state paid for the drug and that it was legally obtained.
Due to international pressure, sodium thiopental is no longer produced in the United States and is rarely found worldwide.
The request was made as a Douglas County judge considers a motion Soucie also filed on Tuesday challenging the state's purchase of one of the three drugs used in its lethal-injection protocol. Soucie is again challenging the legality of Nebraska's purchase from an Indian company and whether the state bought the right substance.
If the execution goes through it will have been the first ever execution by lethal injection and the first Nebraskan execution in 13 years.
Nebraska: Attorney Jerry Soucie, with the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, has filed a motion with the Nebraska Supreme Court challenging Nebraska's purchase of 500 grams of sodium thiopental from Kayem Pharmaceutical Pvt. Ltd.
Soucie said, that the state might have bought a generic version of the drug because the Kayem Pharmaceutical completed a federal "Certificate of Origin" dated Dec. 8, 2010, stating that the drug shipped from India to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services was "Thiopentone ... thiosol sodium."
The state's lethal injection protocol calls for using "sodium thiopental."
Federal law also requires that before a new drug is used in the United States, the manufacturer must file an application with the Food and Drug Administration outlining the drug's safety, composition and manufacturing process.
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