The complex procedures for states to execute condemned inmates became much more complicated today, as the only U.S. maker of a key drug used in the process announced it would no longer produce it.
Hospira Inc. said in a statement issued this morning that it was halting production of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic that is one of three drugs used in lethal injection procedures nationwide.
A shortage of that drug had halted executions in several states in recent months, including a planned one in California three months ago, but Hospira said at the time it expected to resume producing the drug and that it would be available early this year.
Since then, however, international controversy has erupted over use of the drug in executions in the United States, particularly after it was learned that some states, including California, had obtained supplies from Britain, where capital punishment is outlawed.
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