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Gov. Jay Nixon stops plans for execution

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The lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison

Todd Feeback | KCPT News

On Friday, Oct. 11, the planned execution of Alan Nicklasson, was stopped by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. Nicklasson was scheduled to be injected with a lethal dose of the drug propofol. This was the first time drug was to be used in an execution. Ordinarily, it is used as an anesthetic. According to an article from the Associated Press, nearly 90% of the nation’s supply of the drug is imported from Europe. The European Union threatened to limit the export of the drug if it was used for executions.

An article in The Kansas City Star says the drug is administered 50 million times each year. A shortage of this drug, mostly manufactured by Fresenius Kabi, a German company, would be disruptive to patients and medical providers. In a statement on their website, The American Society of Anesthesiologists wrote:

“The American Society of Anesthesiologists commends Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on his decision not to use propofol in a manner that may have significantly affected the availability of this medication for the anesthetic care of patients in America. Propofol’s wide-spread patient acceptance and tolerance in procedures requiring anesthesia make this medicine critically important to providing the most optimal outcomes for patients.”

Gov. Jay Nixon issued this statement on Friday:

“As Governor, my interest is in making sure justice is served and public health is protected.  That is why, in light of the issues that have been raised surrounding the use of propofol in executions, I have directed the Department of Corrections that the execution of Allen Nicklasson, as set for October 23, will not proceed. I have further directed the Department to modify the State of Missouri’s Execution Protocol to include a different form of lethal injection.  The Attorney General will immediately request a new execution date for Allen Nicklasson from the Missouri Supreme Court.”

UPDATE
Oct. 23, 2013

The Missouri Department of Corrections announced on Tuesday the selection of a new drug for executions: pentobarbital. More details in this story by Chris McDaniel.

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