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US authorities face legal challenges over anaesthetics used in executions

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1925 (Published 24 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1925
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

Federal drug enforcement officials have seized the US state of Georgia’s stock of thiopental sodium, the anaesthetic used in executions of most US death row inmates, amid concerns that its importation from the UK might have been illegal.

Officials from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) removed the drug after a lawyer for death row inmate Andrew Grant DeYoung wrote to the US attorney general, Eric Holder, alleging that the importation violated the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The act requires anyone importing controlled substances to be registered with the DEA, and the state of Georgia is not registered.

The drug is specified in most …

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