Arkansas abandons search for execution drugs; puts executions on hold

US News - July 2018

Arkansas prison officials announced earlier this month that they were halting their search for lethal injection drugs, a move that means that the state is unlikely to put any inmates to death this year.

The state’s current stock of Vecuronium Bromide expired in March, and prison officials have claimed that they cannot be replenished until the Legislature attempts to pass a new secrecy law next January. This proposed law is intended to conceal how the state obtains its execution drugs, hiding its efforts to bypass companies’ controls and obtain the drugs illicitly.

Last year, Arkansas attempted to invoke similar legislation to conceal the fraudulent purchase of execution drugs intended for use in a mass execution in April. However, the state Supreme Court ruled last year that prison officials could no longer keep the state’s suppliers of execution drugs secret, and the healthcare company McKesson sued the state for the return of drugs purchased through “false pretense, trickery, and bad faith.”

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