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Death To The Death Penalty? Pfizer Blocks Use Of Its Drugs For Executions (VIDEO)

Pharmaceutical Giant Pfizer Takes A Stand Against The Death Penalty

Pfizer has put the brakes on its involvement in the death penalty, blocking the use of its drugs in executions. This was the last federally-approved drug company still having their products used on death row inmates but they don’t want anything to do with the controversial practice anymore.

According to CTV News, Pfizer made it clear in a press release on Friday that they aren’t interested in the death business.

“Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve. Consistent with these values, Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment.”

There are 7 products that Pfizer has restricted with Governments that want the drugs having to certify that they will not use them when administering the death penalty.

“…[W]e are enforcing a distribution restriction for specific products that have been part of, or considered by some states for their lethal injection protocols. These products include pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide and vecuronium bromide.”

The massive drug company is taking this issue very seriously and has vowed to keep a watchful eye on where their drugs are going, who they are going into and for what reasons.

“Pfizer will consistently monitor the distribution of these seven products, act upon findings that reveal noncompliance, and modify policies when necessary to remain consistent with our stated position against the improper use of our products in lethal injections. Importantly, this distribution system is also designed to ensure that these critical medications will remain immediately available to those patients who rely on them every day.”

Now, all 25 of the drug companies world-wide that made drugs the FDA approved for use in executions have blocked their product from being utilized in lethal injections. It has become harder and harder for the U.S. states with the death penalty to get the drugs they need according to The Atlantic, since in 2011, the E.U. put in place an export ban of drugs that could be used in lethal injections.

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Although the decision by Pfizer has been celebrated by some human rights advocates, there are new concerns being raised as the Guardian points out. If U.S. states still using the practice can’t get the drugs they need, what alternatives will they go to?

“Last year, Utah approved the use of firing squads if drugs were not available. Oklahoma has approved nitrogen gas. In 2014, Tennessee passed a law allowing the use of the electric chair. Virginia is debating a similar bill. Some states have resorted to using compound drugs that are not approved by the federal government. [Anti-death penalty group] Reprieve said executions using these compounds had been responsible for a number of “disastrous, drawn-out executions”.

So, states are stubbornly sticking to their guns of killing inmates (no pun intended) as opposed to looking at dropping the death penalty. Ohio still has over 24 prisoners sitting on death row but hasn’t executed anyone since 2014 because they haven’t been able to get the drugs. You would think they would take it as a sign that maybe the death penalty isn’t a good idea. But, nope. They haven’t gotten the hint.

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Feature image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Chris Hearn is an ageing freelance writer located in wintery Winnipeg. He is a stay-at-home-parent, amateur stand-up comedian, and a guy with a lot of opinions, much to everyone's dismay.