Today Governor Jay Nixon halted the execution of Allen Nicklasson scheduled for October 23, because of concerns about the use of propofol as the execution drug. If the execution had been carried out, Missouri would have been the first state in the nation to use propofol for an execution.
In the weeks leading up to the governor’s decision, numerous concerns had been raised about using this popular anesthetic drug for executions. The European Union had threatened to limit the export of the drug into the U.S. if it was used for executions. This raised concerns, as over 85% of the U.S. supply of propofol used in surgeries comes from Europe.
Realizing that millions of citizens could be impacted by the loss of propofol, the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists sent a letter in September to Governor Nixon strongly opposing the use of propofol in executions.
The Department of Corrections (DOC) had also come under fire for the way it acquired the propofol. Reports circulated that their supply of the drug was received by mistake and that the German manufacturer of the drug, Fresenius Kabi, wanted the drug returned. Earlier this week Governor Nixon ordered the DOC to return the drug to the German company. The DOC then indicated that it still had enough propofol from a domestic company to carry out the execution, but eventually the Illinois manufacturer also requested that the drug be returned, claiming the sale had not been authorized.
Amid all this controversy, litigation was also pending in Missouri courts regarding the use of propofol.
In his order halting the execution, Governor Nixon also requested the DOC come up with a different way to perform lethal injections.
Posted: October 11, 2013