WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) – Death row inmates are suing to stop the importation of a drug used in executions.

Attorneys for the prisoners in Tennessee, Arizona and California argued before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration is breaking the law by allowing sodium thiopental to be imported since it is an unapproved drug manufactured overseas.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

The Obama administration argues it has discretion to allow unapproved drugs into the U.S. and wants Leon to dismiss the case.

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The drug’s U.S. manufacturer announced last year that it would no longer produce it, forcing corrections officials to delay many executions. Many of the nation’s 34 death penalty states switched to an alternative drug, pentobarbital.

Both drugs are anesthetics used to put inmates to sleep before other lethal drugs are administered.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. Bill Pulk says:

    These clowns should have thought about this before they commited murder

  2. Christine Thomas says:

    Kudos to the legal representatives fighting this battle to keep us as a society from becoming like those we claim to condemn!

  3. Joan Taylor says:

    The death penalty is on its way out, and when that happens we will all be better off. I’m thrilled to hear that there is now a multi-state challenge. This will hasten the end of a despicable practice.

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