Mississippi affected by shortage of execution drug

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood wrote a letter to Hospira last April, asking if there was anything he could do to help expedite a shipment of sodium thiopental because the state didn’t have enough for two executions, scheduled the following month, on May 19 and 20.

In a reply dated May 18, Brian J. Smith, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for Hospira, told Hood he couldn’t help because Hospira does “not support the use of any of our products in capital punishment procedures” and that manufacturing had halted in mid-2009 due to “manufacturing difficulties.”

Smith wrote that Hospira was aware its products were being obtained from third parties for executions, but the company didn’t agree with that practice and would not ship directly for use in lethal injections.

The Associated Press obtained the letters through a public records request.