The maker of a sedative set for inclusion in a Nevada execution on Wednesday — the state’s first in 12 years — says it’s exploring the possibility of legal action to prevent the drug from being used to kill Scott Dozier.
American pharmaceutical company Alvogen, which makes the drug midazolam, says on its website that it tries to prevent the medication from use in executions. But the Nevada Department of Corrections announced last Tuesday that it was adding midazolam to its three-drug lethal injection combination after another drug expired, and on Friday it distributed photos of the packaging with Alvogen labels.
“Alvogen does not market, promote or condone the use of any of its approved prescription drug products, including midazolam, for use in state sponsored executions,” spokesperson Halldór Kristmannsson said in a statement. “To avoid any improper, off label use of our products, Alvogen does not accept direct orders from prison systems or departments of correction. Alvogen works with our distributors and wholesalers to restrict any resale, either directly or indirectly, of our midazolam product to any prison system or department of correction.”
Nevada prisons purchased execution drugs through wholesaler Cardinal Health, which has previously said it works to fulfill manufacturer’s wishes.
“As a wholesaler, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of accuracy and safety and have robust controls in place,” Cardinal Health spokesman Geoffrey Basye said in November, when it was first revealed that the company was supplying some of the drugs. “We follow every manufacturer’s specific instructions to ensure the safe distribution of their products.”
Basye didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the Alvogen situation.
Midazolam has been used in other executions around the country, including some that were prolonged and involved the inmates gasping for air. Alvogen said it would work to prevent the midazolam from making its way into Dozier’s execution.
“With respect to the alleged intent of the State of Nevada Department of Corrections to use our midazolam product in an execution, we are exploring all potential avenues, including legal recourse, to prevent the improper use of our product in this particular execution,” Kristmannsson said on Sunday.
By Monday afternoon, corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina said she hadn’t heard of any action from the company against her agency.
NDOC has previously declined to acquiesce to manufacturer’s specifications about drugs in executions. Pfizer asked the agency to return the drug diazepam after it was revealed the drug would be used in Dozier’s execution when it was first scheduled last November, but the agency said at the time that it was under no obligation to return a product it had purchased.