Drugmakers File to Halt Use of Meds in Arkansas Executions

Two pharmaceutical companies submitted a joint court filing late Wednesday to prevent the state of Arkansas from using their drugs in the lethal-injection executions of seven death-row inmates over 11 days, which are scheduled to begin next week. According to the legal brief filed to a federal judge, Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. say the Arkansas Department of Correction may have improperly bypassed controls for the drugs’ distribution, which were established to mitigate risks to the companies’ reputations and to public health. Lawyers expect a decision from District Judge Kristine Baker to be handed down Friday. “We have made repeated, as-of-yet unsuccessful representations in writing and in person to the governor’s office, Office of the Attorney General, and the Department of Correction to confirm if they are in possession of our product, which they intend to use in lethal injections, and if so to return it to us,” West-Ward Pharmaceuticals spokesman Keri Butler said.