Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Pfizer & Wholesaler Say "Drug Addicted" Arkansas Lied to Get Drugs for Executions!

Pfizer and drug wholesaling giant McKesson, along with drugmakers Fresenius Kabi and West-Ward, have all weighed in to stop Arkansas from using their drugs in its effort to perform seven executions in short order before the drugs expire at the end of the month, exhausting the state’s only remaining, or available, supply.

McKesson was able to get a state judge in Arkansas to issue a temporary restraining order on Friday, Reuters reported. It told the judge the state has refused its demand that it return the drug, vecuronium bromide, after McKesson learned it intended to use it for executions in violation of its sales agreement.

The drug was manufactured by Pfizer, which has said it has made clear to its wholesaler and to states that still do executions that the drug, and about 15 others, are not to be sold or used for executions.

“Pfizer has twice requested that Arkansas return any Hospira or Pfizer manufactured restricted product in their possession. In addition, we considered other means by which to secure the return of the product, up to and including legal action,” Pfizer said in its statement, adding that McKesson has violated its contract with Pfizer by selling the drug to the department of corrections.

McKesson, in its defense, said in a statement that Arkansas had essentially lied to it when it bought the drug, claiming it was going to be used “for medical purposes.”

Meanwhile, Fresenius Kabi USA and Hikma’s West-Ward Pharmaceuticals have also weighed in, the New York Times reports, saying they have asked a judge to prevent the state from using their drugs, potassium chloride and midazolam, in the executions. They also claim the state got the drugs in violation of their policies against use of their drugs for executions.

Drugmakers, under pressure from groups that oppose capital punishment, began about four years ago to write contracts that restricted any of their drugs from being sold for use in drug cocktails for executions. As shortages of drugs began to impede executions, states took a variety of steps to get their hands on sufficient supplies to keep up their death penalty schedules. Sometimes legal delays would result in drugs expiring before they were used, sending states to scavenge for new supplies. Some went to compounders for drugs, and others looked to manufacturers in other countries. The FDA has also gotten involved by raising questions about states, like Texas, buying some of the drugs from manufacturers overseas.

Pharma Guy's insight:

Arkansas is addicted to drugs that kill and just like every addict it will do anything - including lying - to get hold of them!

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Tax Evader #Pharma Mylan Reprimanded for Doing Little to Stop Use of Its Drug for Executions in U.S.

Tax Evader #Pharma Mylan Reprimanded for Doing Little to Stop Use of Its Drug for Executions in U.S. | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

The Dutch branch of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reprimanded pharmaceutical company Mylan for doing to little to prevent their drugs being used in executions in the United States, the Volkskrant reports.

The OECD reprimanded Mylan at the insistence of death penalty lawyer Bart Staperd. The pharmaceutical company now has to update its sales policy and make sure that their products are not used in executions. Mylan is originally an American company, but is established in the Netherlands for tax reasons. It therefore has to comply with Dutch human rights laws and provisions.

The drug involved is muscle relaxant rocuronium bromide. In the United States it is used as part of the cocktail given to death penalty prisoners at their execution.

Mylan initially defended itself by claiming that they do not always have control over the distribution of the drug. They sell rocuronium bromide wholesale to American hospitals, to be sued for anesthesia in medical treatments. It is not directly supplied to prisons.

The OECD does not find that excuse acceptable, and instructed Mylan to better monitor the trade of the drug, even after they sold it. The company now promised to put more effort into monitoring where the drug ends up.

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Whoops! Execution Drug Sold to Arkansas Despite Pfizer's Promise Not to Sell It

Whoops! Execution Drug Sold to Arkansas Despite Pfizer's Promise Not to Sell It | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

An execution drug obtained by the Arkansas prison system this month appears to have been made by a subsidiary of Pfizer, even though the pharmaceutical giant has said it doesn't want its drugs to be used in executions.

The sale of the vecuronium bromide by an unknown third party may show how difficult it could be for manufacturers to prevent such sales in states such as Arkansas that have execution secrecy laws.

The Associated Press on Monday obtained redacted photos of the vecuronium bromide label from the Arkansas Department of Correction. It matches labels submitted to the National Institutes of Health by Hospira, Inc., which Pfizer bought last year. The AP also obtained the purchase orders for the drug, but the name of the third party that sold the drug to the department was redacted, in compliance with the state's execution secrecy law.

Pfizer announced in May it had put in place sweeping controls to make sure its distributors would not sell its drugs for use in executions (read “Pfizer Blocks the Use of Its Drugs in Executions. Some States Resort to FIRING SQUADS!!!!”; In an email Monday, company spokeswoman Rachel Hooper reiterated that position.

"We have implemented a comprehensive strategy and enhanced restricted distribution protocols for a select group of products to help combat their unauthorized use for capital punishment. Pfizer is currently communicating with states to remind them of our policy," Hooper wrote. She didn't address whether the company was aware of the sale of its subsidiary's drug to the Arkansas Department of Correction.

Records obtained by the AP show the state agreed to pay $1,849.33 for 100 vials of vecuronium bromide on July 11 and $2,982 for a purity analysis of the drug. That's almost 10 times less than the $18,478 the state paid in June 2015 for fewer doses of the drug.

Solomon Graves, a Department of Correction spokesman, said he couldn't comment on the price difference. He confirmed by email that the new supply of vecuronium bromide was not bought at a pharmacy outside of the U.S. and was not made by or obtained from a compounding pharmacy.

Asked whether the department knew or cared that a drug manufacturer said it didn't want its products used in executions, Graves responded: "Under the law, we cannot identify the company that made or sold the drugs, and I will not engage in hypotheticals."

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