Pfizer has taken steps to ensure that its drugs preserve life, rather than take it. The global pharmaceuticals corporation has tightened its distribution channels and the stipulations it has put on them.
Pfizer "strongly objects" to the application of its products as lethal injections, the company has officially said. It has drawn up some additional stipulations for the sale and resale of pancuronium bromide, hydromorphone, propofol, potassium chloride, midazolam, vecuronium bromide and rocuronium bromide.
The drugs are all used thousands of times each day by medical professionals seeking to save lives and treat illness, according to Pfizer.
"They are well-established within the medical community and continue to serve important needs in surgical procedures and other treatments," the company said [PDF]. "Pfizer offers these products because they save or improve lives, and markets them solely for use as indicated in the product labeling."
The newly trimmed down list of greenlit clients, which includes distributors, direct buyers and wholesalers, have agreed that they won't resell the drugs to correctional facilities. When designing the new system for distributing the seven drugs, Pfizer took steps to make sure they're still available to the patients who rely on them every day.
Government agencies can still buy the substances, but they'll have to ensure they will not use the drugs to put people down or pass them along to a party who might do so.
"Government purchasing entities must certify that products they purchase or otherwise acquire are used only for medically prescribed patient care and not for any penal purposes," Pfizer said. "Pfizer further requires that these Government purchasers certify that the product is for 'own use' and will not resell or otherwise provide the restricted products to any other party."
Pfizer plans to regularly audit the distribution of the drugs and will take action should it find noncompliance. The company said it is willing to modify its regulations if doing so is necessary to keep the drugs from being used for executions.
With its new restrictions, Pfizer joins about two dozen other FDA-approved pharmaceutical companies in disavowing the use of its drugs in cocktails meant to kill. It's a movement that has been happening for the past few years, and it has placed strain on states looking to carry out executions via lethal injection.