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What Pfizer’s Stand Against Lethal Injections Means For California

Police officers stand in front of Pfizer's New York City headquarters during ...

Credit: Michael Fleshman

Above: Police officers stand in front of Pfizer's New York City headquarters during an Occupy Wall Street march, Feb. 29, 2012.

What Pfizer's Stand Against Lethal Injections Means For California


Megan McCracken, attorney, UC Berkeley Death Penalty Clinic


Drugmaker Pfizer on Friday said it opposes the use of its products for capital punishment and would work to block the use of its drugs in lethal injections.

The announcement came in the midst of California's administrative process to move from a multi-drug cocktail for lethal injections to a single drug. The proposal is still in a public comment period.

Pfizer doesn't make any of the potential drugs, said Megan McCracken, a lawyer with The University of California Berkeley Death Penalty Clinic.

But McCracken told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday there's little information available about the proposed drugs, and the state could use compound pharmacies, which have been linked to botched lethal injections.

"There's a real lack of transparency," she said.

McCracken said that Pfizer's strong stand against its products being used in executions is becoming an industrywide position and could point to further complications obtaining lethal injection drugs and maintaining support for capital punishment.

"We see states moving away from capital punishment and as more and more people see that there are so many problems with capital punishment and that it is really a broken system — a costly broken system." McCracken said.

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