On August 14, the Nebraska Department of Correction Services announced the execution of convicted murderer Carey Dean Moore. Muscle relaxant cisatracurium, and potassium chloride – used in executions to stop the heart – were listed among the pharmaceutical products administered.
“Fresenius Kabi had strong reason to believe the state of Nebraska had acquired quantities of the company’s potassium chloride and cisatracurium from an unauthorised source, or sources, to use these pharmaceuticals in last week’s execution,” Fresenius Kabi spokesperson, Steffen Rinas, told us.
“These were the only two involved drugs we suspected to be from our production,” he added.
The German firm filed a lawsuit to request the US District Court to issue a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and/or permanent injunction, preventing the two pharmaceutics it suspected to be produced by Fresenius Kabi from use in the administration of a lethal injection.
“Furthermore, Fresenius Kabi requested the Court to issue an order requiring Nebraska to return all the Fresenius Kabi pharmaceuticals to Fresenius Kabi immediately.
“There was a hearing in the Nebraska Disctrict Court on August 10, at which our request was denied, followed by our - unsuccessful - appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit,” Rinas told us.
The company’s records indicate no sales of either potassium chloride or cisatracurium, neither directly nor via authorised distributors, to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. “However, because of secrecy laws, we don’t know with certainty if, or how, the state acquired our products, and the state has not confirmed it used our products in the execution,” he added.
Rinas told us Fresenius Kabi “strongly” objects to the use of its products for this purpose: “Our products were developed and are approved solely for patient care, and we expressly restrict the sale of our products for use in lethal injection procedures.”
The Department of Corrections did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.
Just last month, drugmaker Alvogen claimed the Nevada Department of Corrections had fraudulently obtained its sedative, midazolam, for lethal injection. The firm won a court order to temporarily prevent the Department’s use of midazolam in the execution.