LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Two more pharmaceutical companies are objecting to Nebraska’s use of lethal injection drugs that may have come from them as the state prepares to execute its first inmate in nearly 21 years.
Representatives of Sandoz Inc. and Hikma Pharmaceuticals sent letters late last month urging state officials to return their drugs for a refund or provide assurances they won’t be used in executions.
Company spokespeople said Thursday they have not confirmed whether Nebraska’s corrections department has obtained their products. It’s also not clear whether they’ll pursue a legal challenge that could derail the scheduled Aug. 14 execution of Carey Dean Moore, although one of the companies reserved the right to do so.
Sandoz and Hikma are among several manufacturers of drugs that are part of Nebraska’s lethal injection protocol.
State officials have refused to identify the supplier and filed an immediate appeal after a judge ordered them to release public records that would reveal the source. A Department of Correctional Services spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a phone message or email request for comment on the letters.
A Sandoz executive said attempts to use the manufacturer’s drugs in executions run afoul of the company’s mission of promoting public health, damages the company’s reputation and exposes it to risks including lawsuits and a potential backlash from shareholders.
“Sandoz should not be forced against its business interest and business plan to suffer financial loss because a state wishes to misuse medicines for the unauthorized purpose of a lethal injection,” Michelle Quinn, the company’s North American vice president and general counsel, said in a letter to state officials.
Quinn said the company reserves the right “to take necessary legal action” to ensure its medicines are used properly.
A Hikma executive said it has enacted policies to keep its drugs out of the hands of corrections departments for use in lethal injection, but state officials keep trying to get them through middlemen.
“Not only is this contrary to our intention of manufacturing the product for the health and well-being of patients in need, it is also completely counter to our company values,” Executive Vice President Daniel Motto said in the letter.
Hikma spokesman Steve Weiss said the company sends a similar letter annually to governors, attorneys general and correction department directors in every state that allows capital punishment.
“Our first and foremost concern is that it’s against our values of making quality medicines that help improve and save lives,” Weiss said.
Drugmaker Pfizer has sent a similar letter to Nebraska officials. State Sen. Ernie Chambers, a staunch death penalty opponent, is urging the company to do more to intervene.
“The matter before us is too grave to allow for verbal pussy-footing,” Chambers said in a Wednesday letter to the company.