UK considers banning the export to the US of three execution drugs

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 16 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1085
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The UK government is urgently considering putting export controls on three drugs used to execute death row prisoners in the US, amid fears that a prisoner may have died an “excruciating” death after being inadequately anaesthetised with drugs imported from the UK.

Tom Smith, head of export control at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, told a hearing at the Houses of Parliament in London that the UK was urgently looking at controlling the export of pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride, three drugs used in execution protocols in the US.

Controls were placed last November on thiopental sodium, the drug usually used to …

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