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Pfizer to No Longer Permit Use of Its Drugs for Lethal Injections

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Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said Friday it has taken measures to control the use of its products and assure that they are not purchased to carry out the executions of death row prisoners.

After more than 20 drug manufacturers around the globe took action to closely monitor the distribution of their products, Pfizer had been the last remaining legal source of chemicals used for lethal injection in the US. Now the company has stated that its products are intended to enhance life, not take it away.

"We are enforcing a distribution restriction for specific products that have been part of, or considered by some states for, their lethal injection protocols," the company said on its website. "Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for injections for capital punishment."

The director of the international human rights organization Reprieve, Maya Foa, welcomed the decision, stating that the move secures "the pharmaceutical industry's opposition to the misuse of medicines."

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The list of products blocked from use by prisons includes teh anesthetic propofol, the drug that caused Michael Jackson's death, as well as pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, idazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide and vecuronium bromide.

Selected wholesalers and distributors will only be allowed to purchase these seven products under the condition that they will not be resold to corrections departments for use in capital punishment, the company said.

Tightening the protocol on the distribution of Pfizer's drugs strikes a significant blow to the use of the death penalty in America, as it will be nearly impossible for death penalty states to obtain the required chemicals.

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