The Arizona Republic reports that “Execution drugs: Arizona inmate lawsuit seeks FDA policing ‘” showing three lawyers for three Arizona Death Row prisoners filed suit in federal court in Washington, D.C., this morning to force the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to police foreign imports of a drug used in execution by lethal injection. “Arizona inmates Donald Beaty, Daniel Cook and Eric King are joined in the suit by Death Row prisoners from Tennessee and California, states which have also recently imported the anesthetic sodium thiopental from Great Britain. These lawyers are quoting a congressional mandate to screen “all commercial shipments of drugs, as well as all shipments of controlled substances.” The lawsuit states that “FDA’s recent actions with respect to thiopental [the drug used in the lethal injection executions and purchased for the most recent state execution] are manifestly contrary to law and amount to an abdication of the obligations imposed by the (Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938),” It describes thiopental as “an unapproved new drug, a misbranded drug, and an adulterated drug under the FDCA. The imported thiopental in question has not been listed with FDA, was manufactured by foreign companies that have not registered with FDA, and was exported by a wholesaler located in the United Kingdom.” 
In meantime, a Washington Post Staff Writer reports the “The U.S. company that makes a drug most states use in lethal injection announced Friday that it would no longer produce the powerful anesthetic, a decision that throws capital punishment in the United States into disarray.” The decision by Hospira of Lake Forest., Ill., was prompted by demands from Italy, which does not have capital punishment, that no sodium thiopental – which the company had planned to make at its plant outside Milan – be used for executions, officials said. “We determined we could not prevent the drug from being diverted for use in capital punishment,” said Dan Rosenberg, a Hospira spokesman. He noted that the company never condoned the drug’s use for lethal injection and had hoped to continue making it for medical use. Hospira’s move will force states and the federal government to look for alternatives to the drug, which could require lengthy approval processes and result in costly, long-running legal challenges.” 
In an article posted on January 11, 2011 by Andrew Welsh-Huggins, an Associated Press legal affairs writer, it states ” The Food and Drug Administration helped Arizona and California obtain a quick overseas source of a hard-to-find execution drug even as the agency declared it would not regulate or block imports, records show. The shortage of the drug, sodium thiopental, has disrupted executions around the country. Newly released documents show the FDA helped Arizona import a supply of the drug from an English company last fall as it prepared to execute a condemned killer. California prison officials also say the agency last week released a batch of the drug the state bought, also from England. The FDA would not comment on its role in helping either state. Three states – Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas – plan executions this week. Alabama and Texas use sodium thiopental, an anesthetic in short supply in the U.S. because of manufacturing issues, and have enough of the drug for now. Record obtained by The Associated Press show, though, that Texas may soon run out. 
In response to state queries, the FDA has announced it will not stop overseas shipments to the U.S. of the drug sodium thiopental, because the agency does not regulate products used in lethal injection. A pending federal lawsuit in Arizona challenges the use of overseas drugs, saying they may be substandard and could lead to botched executions if they don’t render an inmate properly unconscious. “Reviewing substances imported or used for the purpose of state-authorized lethal injection clearly falls outside of FDA’s explicit public health role,” said agency spokesman Christopher Kelly. The FDA has long maintained that a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court ruling freed it from any authority to regulate drugs used in executions. The new FDA documents reveal the agency’s role in helping Arizona get sodium thiopental as the state prepared to execute Jeffrey Landrigan for the 1989 murder of a Phoenix man. After Arizona officials explained to the FDA the need to bring the drugs in quickly, the FDA official recommended “the shipment be processed expeditiously to us as it was for the purpose of executions and not for use by the general public.” The information is contained in an e-mail from an Arizona prisons official to the California prisons agency obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union through a public records request and posted publicly. The ACLU accused the FDA of trying to hold two . 
Perhaps now is the time for all states to review their death penalty laws and decide if they are financially capable of sustaining such an event as well as those lengthy litigation reviews tabulated to be costing them a hefty fee to subsidize as many inmates on death row do not have the funds to pay for such representation and are allowed to be represented by counsel paid for by the state out of the state’s pocket book. Another aspect to consider is the fact that if the FDA is in violation of allowing these non approved FDA imported drugs to be used in death executions, they may be found liable or an accessory to wrongful death lawsuits by the family members claiming the FDA acted without due diligence in the enforcement of congressional mandates and allowed illegal drugs to be used for an execution.