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Submission + - US executions threaten supply of anaesthetic used for surgical procedures ( 2

ananyo writes: Allen Nicklasson has had a temporary reprieve. Scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Missouri on 23 October, the convicted killer was given a stay of execution by the state’s governor, Jay Nixon, on 11 October — but not because his guilt was in doubt. Nicklasson will live a while longer because one of the drugs that was supposed to be used in his execution — a widely used anaesthetic called propofol — is at the centre of an international controversy that threatens millions of US patients, and affects the way that US states execute inmates.
Propofol, used up to 50 million times a year in US surgical procedures, has never been used in an execution. If the execution had gone ahead, US hospitals could have lost access to the drug because 90% of the US supply is made and exported by a German company subject to European Union (EU) regulations that restrict the export of medicines and devices that could be used for capital punishment or torture.
This is not the first time that the EU’s anti-death-penalty stance has affected the US supply of anaesthetics. Since 2011, a popular sedative called sodium thiopental has been unavailable in the United States.
“The European Union is serious,” says David Lubarsky, head of the anaesthesiology department at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. “They’ve already shown that with thiopental. If we go down this road with propofol, a lot of good people who need anaesthesia are going to be harmed.”

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US executions threaten supply of anaesthetic used for surgical procedures

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