Could Big Pharma End The Death Penalty?

Clare Algar thinks it’s possible:

Thirty-two states retain the death penalty in the U.S., but a new obstacle is making it increasingly difficult for them to carry it out. Pharmaceutical companies are taking a moral stand. The manufacturers of the drugs required by state departments of corrections for executions are saying they will not allow their products to be employed in this way. Manufacturers in the UK, US, Denmark, Israel, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and India have taken steps to prevent their drugs being used in executions.

This has had an astonishing effect. Shortages of lethal injection drugs and attendant litigation have resulted in moratoria—an official halting of executions—in Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee.

Update from a reader:

The article you link to is intriguing, but Oregon’s moratorium was put in place for a different reason, a very conscious and deliberate choice on the part of our governor. In 2011, he placed a moratorium on all executions:

“In my mind, it is a perversion of justice,” Kitzhaber said at a crowded news conference, his voice strained and uncharacteristically quavering at times. “I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer and I will not allow further executions while I am governor.”

A very principled and brave stance (and one I wholeheartedly support), but it will be interesting to see what happens when his time comes to step down.