Hospira kills death-penalty drug

Usually, politics and pharmaceuticals intersect on Capitol Hill. But now, U.S. drugmaker Hospira will stop producing one of its meds for political reasons--it's used by state governments to execute prisoners by lethal injection.

That's not the primary use of sodium thiopental. It's an anesthetic. But because capital punishment states use it has thrown a big wrench into Hospira's plans to manufacture it. The company wanted to shift production of the drug--which has been scarce for about a year because of manufacturing problems--to a facility in Italy. But the Italian government won't allow it unless the company can guarantee that the product won't be used to execute prisoners.

And that's not something Hospira can do, given that the drug is distributed through wholesalers that the drugmaker can't control. So, Hospira will give up on the drug altogether. "This is not how the drug is intended to be used," spokeswoman Tareta Adams told Reuters. "We've decided we're no longer going to work to bring the drug back."

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