APNewsBreak: Where Ohio got its execution drugs


FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Dennis McGuire. Condemned inmate McGuire made gasp-like snoring sounds for several minutes during his 26-minute execution on Jan. 16, the longest since Ohio resumed putting inmates to death in 1999. Ohio’s most recent batches of lethal injection drugs were produced by a company that wants states to stop using them for capital punishment, records show. Lake Forest, Ill.-based Hospira Inc. says it manufactures the drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromophone, to enhance and save the lives of patients it helps treat. The company says it objects to their use in capital punishment. (AP Photo/Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, File) | Zoom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's most recent batches of lethal injection drugs were produced by a company that wants states to stop using them for capital punishment, records show.

Lake Forest, Ill.-based Hospira Inc. says it manufactures the drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone, to enhance and save the lives of patients it helps treat. The company says it objects to their use in capital punishment.

Hospira's position adds to the state's difficulties obtaining drugs to put condemned inmates to death at a time when several other states, including Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, face similar challenges obtaining drugs.

Other drug makers have prohibited the use of their drugs in executions, and states are running out of options.

Ohio purchased the Hospira-made drugs in 2012 and 2013 from San Francisco-based drug distributor McKesson, according to invoices and packing slips obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.

The two drugs are required by Ohio's execution policy. Their first use, in the prolonged execution last month of a pregnant woman's condemned killer, sparked calls for a moratorium on capital punishment.

Despite its opposition, Hospira also says there's only so much it can do, given what it calls "the complex supply chain and the gray market" of U.S. drug distribution. It says it can't guarantee a U.S. prison could not obtain restricted products outside of the normal distribution process.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction declined to comment.

Condemned inmate Dennis McGuire, 53, made gasp-like snoring sounds for several minutes during his 26-minute execution on Jan. 16, the longest since Ohio resumed putting inmates to death in 1999. He appeared unconscious while making those sounds.

His family has sued Ohio, alleging the use of the drugs led to a death that was cruel and inhuman. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is preparing a report on his execution. Gov. John Kasich delayed an execution scheduled for March until the fall to allow time for the report to be completed.

After McGuire's execution, Louisiana announced it was switching to the same two drugs. Records obtained by the AP showed Ohio faxed a copy of its execution policies, including the use of the two drugs, to the head of Louisiana's prisons agency on Jan. 27.

Florida uses midazolam as the first of three drugs. The agency won't say where it gets the drug.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Bad Idea
    The man behind a staged child abduction apologizes for scaring young kids, parents

  • Oso Clean
    An army of volunteers is making sure mudslide searchers get to put on warm, dry clothes

  • Vacation Time
    Two airlines are battling for your business and you're the winner
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.