Texas is Suing the FDA Over Seized Execution Drugs

The FDA has kept a shipment of sodium thiopental away meant for the state for 17 months.

By Rhonda FanningJanuary 4, 2017 12:07 pm,

Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the seizure of 1,000 vials of a drug used in executions. The drug, sodium thiopental, is an anesthetic that’s been used for years as part of a three-drug cocktail in lethal injection executions.

The sole U.S. manufacturer of the drug decided to stop selling it in the states more than five years ago because the company didn’t want it used in executions. Texas ordered the drug from India instead. But 17 months ago, the FDA stopped the shipment, citing that use of the drug violates federal law.

Bobby Cervantes with the Houston Chronicle says Paxton is pointing to an exception of the drug’s use for law enforcement. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has gone back and forth on the FDA about the drug’s seizure and says their last resort is a lawsuit to get the drugs back.

“After all these months of really these roadblocks I think there’s this sense with the FDA that … if it’s going to do this for one state it’s going to do it for all,” Cervantes says. “If the policy is – as they read the federal law – that this drug is not allowed in the United States, it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere. And it’s going to be a blanket rule for as long as the officials at the FDA decide how that law is interpreted.”

Post by Beth Cortez-Neavel.