Firms object to drug use in Arkansas executions

Fresenius said it has made similar overtures to Governor Asa Hutchinson and his staff, but has not received any response.

On Tuesday, American Bar Association President Linda A. Klein wrote that she was "troubled" by the accelerated schedule, in a letter to the governor asking him to delay the executions.

Inmates Bruce Ward (top row L to R), Don Davis, Ledell Lee, Stacy Johnson, Jack Jones (bottom row L to R), Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams and Jason Mcgehee are shown in these booking photo provided March 21, 2017.

However, both companies say they have put strict controls on supplies and do not know how their products were purchased by officials. Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. filed amicus briefs with the district court in Arkansas Thursday arguing that both companies have protocols limiting distribution and prohibiting the sale of its drugs for lethal injections.

The two men are among seven inmates Arkansas plans to put to death over a 10-day period.

The first two men scheduled to be executed during Arkansas's historic spate of executions requested a delay Wednesday, citing the need to wait for the conclusion of a U.S. Supreme Court case. The inmates set for execution have challenged the state's use of the drug midazolam, as well as the speed at which the executions are scheduled to be carried out. Fresenius said its information indicated no sales of its potassium chloride directly or through its authorized distributors to the state's prison system. West-Ward had previously been identified by The Associated Press as the state's likely manufacturer of midazolam, which expires at the end of the month.

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'So we can only conclude Arkansas may have acquired this product from an unauthorised seller, ' Matt Kuhn, a spokesman for the company, said.

London-based Hikma, West-Ward's parent company, said it made "repeated" representation to officials "to confirm if they are in possession of our product which they intend to use in lethal injections, and if so to return it to us". Executives at the drug giant have said they oppose the use of their drugs in executions, but a spokesperson for the corporation did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The state announced last month it had obtained a new supply of the drug, but state law keeps the source of it secret.

The companies did not disclose which of their drugs Arkansas will use during the executions.

That will occur on the same day that a federal court hearing is expected to wrap up with the inmates challenging the state's execution plan. This caused a scramble for new mixes, including combinations with midazolam, which has been used in flawed executions in states including Oklahoma and Arizona where witnesses said inmates writhed in pain on death chamber gurneys.

Asa Hutchinson to give more time between the executions, which are set to begin on April 17.

The state of Arkansas has not carried out an execution in over a decade due to legal challenges and drug shortages.

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