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Ohio runs out of execution drugs as manufacturers’ embargo bites across US

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4853 (Published 10 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4853
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

Authorities in Ohio, the third most populous US state with the death penalty, have been unable to procure lethal injection drugs despite having 24 executions scheduled.

Ohio is the biggest state yet to be completely cut off from a supply of lethal injection drugs, evidence of the slow tightening of an embargo by drug manufacturers unwilling to see their products used in executions. In May Nebraska’s inability to reliably obtain drugs was a major factor in persuading Republican legislators to pass abolition of the death penalty.

In Ohio, too, the prospect of a de facto moratorium on executions has renewed debate about the viability of capital punishment. “I want to continue forward with the death penalty,” Ohio’s governor, John Kasich, said this week, “but if I don’t have the drugs it becomes very difficult.”

The statement was doubly significant, as Kasich is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and under pressure to show his conservative credentials.

Ohio’s …

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