Judge grants drug company temp. restraining order, Arkansas barred from using execution drug

Judge grants TRO for drug company, Ark. barred from using execution drug

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A Pulaski County Circuit Court judge has ruled that the State of Arkansas can't use of one of the drugs used in the execution's three-drug cocktail.

Judge Alice Gray ruled in favor of the drug distributor, McKesson Medical-Surgical Incorporated's claim that the state misled the company when the Arkansas Department of Correction purchased the drug, vecuronium bromide.

The company said that it "would not knowingly sell any prescription drug to [Arkansas Department of Correction] for any purpose unless the ADC had a current medical license to file."

McKesson said that ADC is a long time customer of the company and for most of the relationship, the ADC largely bought medical surgical supplies and other related items. In July 2016, McKesson claimed that ADC "leveraged" its medical license to purchase the vecuronium bromide.

"In doing so, ADC led McKesson to believe that the order was placed at the request of or for the benefit of the licensed physician and would be used for a legitimate medical purpose," McKesson said in the court document.

The company said that ADC placed the order for the drug over the phone and never disclosed that the drug was to be used for executions. McKesson cited a testimony from Rory Griffin, ADC Deputy Director, in which he said ADC "undertook these actions" knowing that the manufacturer of the drug doesn't permit it to be used in executions.

McKesson received the drug from Pfizer which manufactures the vecuronium bromide. Pfizer's official policy does not allow for the use of its drugs in executions. But the ADC argued that there was no contract that said they could only use the drug a certain way. The State of Arkansas also argued that granted this restraining order would essentially cause a stay of execution, which the state said Judge Gray didn't have the authority to do.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she will appeal Judge Gray's decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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