LINCOLN — The State of Nebraska has been asked to return to federal officials its supply of sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs used for lethal injection executions.
But a spokeswoman with the Nebraska Attorney General's Office said the request, mailed April 10 by the Federal Drug Administration, will have no impact on the state.
Shannon Kingery, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jon Bruning, said the request, sent after a court ruling last month, has no bearing on Nebraska.
She said the drug referenced in the court decision was purchased from a supplier in India, Dream Pharma, and was previously detained by the FDA as an unapproved and misbranded drug.
"Nebraska's supply was purchased from a different supplier and was approved for importation by the U.S. DEA, FDA and Customs," Kingery said, in a prepared statement.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon of Washington, D.C., ruled March 27 that the FDA ignored federal law by allowing sodium thiopental, used in lethal injection executions in Nebraska and several other states, to be imported, saying it is an unapproved drug.
The judge ordered the FDA to immediately notify any state corrections departments that possessed foreign-manufactured sodium thiopental that its use is prohibited by law.
That order presumably included Nebraska, which purchased the drug from a Swiss provider. A letter April 10 asked Nebraska to make arrangements to return "any foreign-manufactured thiopental in your possession."
The March ruling was hailed by death penalty opponents, who predicted it would delay executions for several months.
Lincoln defense attorney Jerry Soucie said Wednesday that he is trying to determine what impact the court ruling would have on any future executions.
A Nebraska corrections department spokeswoman said the department would work with the AG’s office on a formal response to the FDA.
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