This week, Pfizer banned the use of its drug products in U.S. executions — or anywhere else for that matter. Pfizer isn’t setting precedent here, as much as getting in line behind almost two dozen other drug manufacturers that have already announced a company ban on the capital punishment market.
Pfizer Bans Use of Seven Pfizer Products in Lethal Injection Executions
From Pfizer’s news release (emphasis added):
Pfizer’s Position on Use of Our Products in Lethal Injections for Capital Punishment
Pfizer’s mission is to apply science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines.
Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve. Consistent with these values, Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment.
Pfizer’s obligation is to ensure the availability of our products to patients who rely on them for medically necessary purposes. At the same time, we are enforcing a distribution restriction for specific products that have been part of, or considered by some states for their lethal injection protocols.
These products include pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide and vecuronium bromide.
Pfizer’s distribution restriction limits the sale of these seven products to a select group of wholesalers, distributors, and direct purchasers under the condition that they will not resell these products to correctional institutions for use in lethal injections. Government purchasing entities must certify that products they purchase or otherwise acquire are used only for medically prescribed patient care and not for any penal purposes.
Pfizer further requires that these Government purchasers certify that the product is for “own use” and will not resell or otherwise provide the restricted products to any other party.
Pfizer will consistently monitor the distribution of these seven products, act upon findings that reveal noncompliance, and modify policies when necessary to remain consistent with our stated position against the improper use of our products in lethal injections. Importantly, this distribution system is also designed to ensure that these critical medications will remain immediately available to those patients who rely on them every day.
ABOUT THESE PRODUCTS: Propofol, pancuronium bromide, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride are FDA-approved, medically necessary drugs administered by licensed medical professionals, thousands of times a day, in efforts to treat illness or save the lives of patients around the world. They are well established within the medical community and continue to serve important needs in surgical procedures and other treatments.
Pfizer offers these products because they save or improve lives, and markets them solely for use as indicated in the product labeling.