Death row delayed by drugs shortage

2010-09-28 07:34

Columbus - Some executions in the US have been put on hold because of a shortage of one of the drugs used in lethal injections from coast to coast.

Several of the 35 states that rely on lethal injection are scrambling to find sodium thiopental or considering switching to another drug.

Sodium thiopental is an anaesthetic that is used to put the condemned inmate to sleep. Then two more drugs are administered to paralyse the muscles and stop the heart.

The sole US manufacturer of sodium thiopental is Hospira Inc of Lake Forest, Illinois.

It has blamed the shortage on problems with its raw-material suppliers. It says new batches will not be available until January at the earliest.