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USA: Pfizer imposes controls to prevent use of its products for lethal injections

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17 May 2016

USA: Pfizer statement indicates it will limit distribution of medications used in lethal injections & will monitor for noncompliance

Author: Pfizer

"Pfizer’s Position on Use of Our Products in Lethal Injections for Capital Punishment," 13 May 2016

Pfizer’s mission is to apply science…to improve health…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…[W]e are enforcing a distribution restriction for specific products that have been part of…lethal injection protocols…Pfizer…limits the sale of these seven products to a select group of wholesalers, distributors, and direct purchasers under the condition that they will not resell these products to correctional institutions for use in lethal injections. Government purchasing entities must certify that products they purchase…are used only for medically prescribed patient care…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…[T]his distribution system is…designed to ensure that…medications will remain immediately available to those patients who rely on them...

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17 May 2016

USA: Reprieve states Pfizer's policy opposing lethal injections is exemplary & warns against passing secrecy laws

Author: Reprieve

"Pfizer blocks drug sales to executioners," 13 May 2016

…Pfizer confirmed its opposition to the misuse of its medicines in American executions and its commitment to block all sales for that purpose. This is a critical turning point in the history of capital punishment in America…Pfizer’s announcement cements the mainstream pharmaceutical industry position on lethal injection executions. It reflects widespread unease about the procedure, and raises fundamental questions about the administration of the death penalty in America. Pfizer’s investors played a role in its decision. One major shareholder – the New York State’s pension fund…has repeatedly raised fiscal and legal concerns following ‘botched’ procedures...Maya Foa, Director at Reprieve, said: “Pfizer’s new policy is exemplary…Pfizer is protecting its products, its brand and its shareholders…Instead of passing secrecy laws intended to undermine the safeguards put in place by these companies, executing states should respect the legitimate commercial interests of the pharmaceutical industry and agree to stop misusing their medicines in lethal injection executions.”

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16 May 2016

USA: Pfizer's decision on death penalty drug welcomed but impact is unclear

Author: Tom Dart, Guardian (UK)

"Pfizer death penalty drug decision welcomed by activists but states fight on," 14 May 2016

…Pfizer…is imposing firmer controls to stop its products from being used in executions…[I]t is impossible to say what the precise impact will be…[S]tate prison agencies have resorted to desperate…measures to replenish supplies, aided by lawmakers who allow officials to cloak the process in secrecy. The…gravest act a state can perform on its citizens…is also among its most secretive functions...With so little information available about the suppliers…the…usage of drugs linked to Pfizer is not measurable…Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center [said,] “If the states are not able to obtain medicines…they will…look to compounding pharmacies…[C]ompounding pharmacies are less well regulated...”…The impact of Pfizer’s move is also tough to gauge because hardcore death penalty states have shown a willingness…to consider extreme options…Utah reintroduced firing squads as a backup…Megan McCracken, of the Death Penalty Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley…said the Pfizer announcement was “a sign of unity”. “We see now the pharmaceutical industry does not want its products used in executions,”…

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