Six Death Row Inmates Sue the FDA

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Transcript by Newsy**** BY LINDSEY WOLF You're watching multisource tech video news analysis from Newsy....
Transcript by Newsy**** BY LINDSEY WOLF You're watching multisource tech video news analysis from Newsy. Six death row inmates from Arizona, California and Tennessee are suing the FDA for allowing states to import an execution drug without agency approval. Sodium thiopental is the first of three drugs injected into a condemned prisoner- it’s an anesthetic that eliminates pain. The Wall Street Journal reports the company Hospira was the only U.S. manufacturer of the drug - but it’s halting production. Italian officials shut down the company’s facility outside Milan because Italy doesn’t support the death penalty. “Hospira tried to figure out a way that it could block the distribution of its drugs to U.S. prisons and decided there was no way to do that so it decided, ‘we’re just going to exit the market.’” Since then, states have had to find it elsewhere – including overseas. Law requires the FDA to ensure only safe, effective drugs are imported into the US, but according to The Tennessean, the FDA decided to… “...exercise ‘enforcement discretion’ regarding sodium thiopental imports for execution and allow them to enter the country with little more than a caveat that FDA has not examined the quality of the drug.” But the FDA wants to stay out of the execution-drug market, releasing a statement saying... “Reviewing substances imported or used for the purpose of state-authorized lethal injection clearly falls outside of FDA’s explicit public health role … FDA does not verify the identity, potency, safety, or effectiveness of substances imported for this purpose.” But James Clark from Change**** claims- without FDA approval, there’s no way to be sure the drug is safe to use. “If the drugs are contaminated or handled improperly, they could become ineffective, leading to a torturous execution that the Supreme Court has ruled would be unconstitutional...” In an editorial for The Daily Herald Vincent Jack wonders- why can’t another U.S. company make the drug? “Come on, give me a break! Surely another drug company can make this drug. Don't tell me that given a whole year's advanced knowledge of a growing shortage didn't send up some red flags somewhere in the medical/legal continuum. How could the Federal Bureau of Prisons fall asleep at the helm on this issue?” The last doses of thiopental made in the U.S. will reach expiration this spring. Some states have worked around the issue- substituting thiopental with pentobarbital- a drug normally used to euthanize animals. Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy