As has been widely reporter, Hospira, a pharmaceutical company, is no longer making sodium thiopental, a key ingredient in the death penalty cocktail used by most states, including North Carolina.
The company had been producing this in its North Carolina plant, but moved its operations to a plant in Italy. Faced with repercussions by the Italian government if it produced products that were used in capital punishment, the company ceased providing sodium thiopental to American death penalty states.
This could create serious problems for executions in North Carolina, as the administrative and legislative processes needed to change the method of execution could be quite difficult and lead to extensive litigation over the efficacy and humanity of any alternative choice.
Court and legislatures across the country will soon begin dealing with this problem as more and more states run out of the lethal drug.
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