In Execution Drugmaker Lawsuit, 15 States Side With Nevada

August 9, 2018

By Ken Ritter

Fifteen states are siding with Nevada in a state Supreme Court fight against drug companies suing to prevent the use of their products to execute a condemned inmate.

In what a national death penalty expert on Tuesday called a setup for a showdown, documents filed with the Nevada Supreme Court argue that drug company Alvogen’s effort to block the use of its sedative midazolam in the stalled execution of Scott Raymond Dozier in Nevada is part of a “guerrilla war against the death penalty.”

“The families of these victims deserve justice,” Arkansas’ state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement Tuesday. Arkansas is leading the 15 states that include Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

“If Alvogen is allowed to succeed,” the Monday friend of the court filing said, “there is a substantial risk that pharmaceutical companies — prodded by anti-death penalty activists and (defense attorneys) — will flood the courts with similar last-minute filings every time a state attempts to see justice done.”

The states’ brief points to an Arkansas Supreme Court decision that overruled a state court judge and allowed executions to go forward in what the states now argue is a nearly identical case involving the drug company McKesson Medical-Surgical and stocks of its drug vecuronium bromide. At the time, Arkansas was on track to execute eight men in an 11-day span. It ultimately put four men to death over eight days.

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