- George Prentice
- Idaho's execution chamber.
In a stunning decision that puts the business of putting people to death in limbo, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced Friday that it will no longer distribute any of its products for the use of lethal injections.
The New York Times reports that the new "sweeping controls" from Pfizer closes off "the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions." In other words, states must now go underground to secure chemicals for use in executions.
In November 2011, Paul Ezra Rhoades, convicted of three murders, was put do death by lethal injection in Idaho. Seven months later, in June 2012, convicted murderer Richard Albert Leavitt was killed by the state via lethal injection.
Currently, lethal injection is the sole method of state-sponsored execution in Idaho. In 2009, the Idaho Legislature removed firing squad as a method of execution.
The Times reports some U.S. states have gone as far as using "straw buyers," or trying to import drugs from overseas that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, only to see them seized by federal agents.