Texas sues FDA over impounded shipment of execution drug

The Texas Attorney General's office has filed suit against the Food and Drug Administration to force a decision on whether or not hundreds of doses of thiopental sodium purchased by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice from an unidentified foreign drug supplier will be delivered. The shipment has been detained by the FDA for more than 17 months.

According to The Hill, the FDA intercepted separate shipments of the drug — which is used in executions — in Houston and Phoenix purchased by Texas and Arizona in 2015. The FDA impounded the shipments because they reportedly violate drug approval requirements and are not approved for use in humans.

"There are only two reasons why the FDA would take 17 months to make a final decision on Texas' importation of thiopental sodium: gross incompetence or willful obstruction," said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. "The FDA has an obligation to fulfill its responsibilities faithfully and in a timely manner. My office will not allow the FDA to sit on its hands and thereby impair Texas' responsibility to carry out its law enforcement duties."

The attorney general argues the drugs are exempt from the FDA's requirements as it is intended for law enforcement purposes and not patient use.

Lyndsay Meyer, and FDA spokeswoman, told the Associated Press the agency "does not comment on possible, pending or ongoing litigation."

Death penalty states have encountered difficulties obtaining drugs to carry out lethal injections in recent years. Pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. have largely stopped making such products.

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