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

Author: Tom Dart, Guardian (UK), Published on: 16 May 2016

"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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Related companies: Pfizer