Drugmaker asked Arkansas not to use its products in executions




A drugmaker asked Arkansas officials not to purchase its products for executions months before the state accepted a “donation” of potassium chloride as one of three drugs to use in lethal injections, according to letters obtained by The Associated Press.

Fresenius Kabi USA wrote to Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley and other officials last July saying the company was aware Arkansas was trying to purchase drugs to carry out executions and asking the state not to violate contracts distributors have with Fresenius that forbid them from selling the drugmaker’s products for use in capital punishment.

Fresenius has since identified itself as the possible maker of the Arkansas’ supply of potassium chloride — which Kelley recently testified she obtained by driving to an undisclosed location to meet an unnamed seller, who when told about the billing process chose to “donate” it rather than create a record of the sale.

Legal and pharmaceutical experts said the methods Arkansas used to obtain the potassium chloride, midazolam and vecuronium bromide to resume carrying out its first executions since 2005 raise concerns about the state’s respect for contracts between private businesses.

Arkansas carried out an execution Thursday using the drugs after the state Supreme Court reversed a judge’s order that had halted the use of vecuronium bromide. The ruling came in an unprecedented lawsuit from drug distributor McKesson Corp., which alleged state officials…

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