Companies File Amicus Brief against Arkansas’ Use of Their Drugs in Lethal Injections

April 19, 2017

Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals claimed the state of Arkansas violated contractual obligations against the sale of their products for lethal injections. The state could only have obtained the drugs through an unauthorized seller, they wrote in an amicus brief for a federal case involving several death row inmates.

The companies also objected to the use of their products for executions due to potential public health consequences of expending the supply for something other than their intended purpose, as well as noting the “reputational risk” inherent in a commercial product being associated with executions.

West-Ward produces the sedative midazolam, while Fresenius Kabi manufactures potassium chloride, which is used to stop the heart. The state had scheduled the executions to take place before the end of the month, as the drugs it planned to use will expire at the end of April. However, both a state and federal judge have blocked the executions, potentially delaying them past the drugs’ expiration date, regardless of the outcome of the case.

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