New drug combination for execution in US leaves hospitals in short supply

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 20 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g384
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

US states are being accused of stockpiling drugs to use in executing prisoners on death row while hospitals face a shortage of the same drugs for surgery and other lifesaving treatment.

The issue has been highlighted by Ohio’s execution of Dennis McGuire, who took 25 minutes to die when he was given a new untested combination of the sedative midazolam and the opioid painkiller hydromorphone.

The American Society of Health System Pharmacists warned that the United States faced a shortage of both drugs because demand exceeded …

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