Arkansas judge opens hearing on ownership of execution drug

Arkansas judge opens hearing on ownership of execution drug

Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A judge has opened a hearing on whether a drug distributor can prevent Arkansas from using one of its products in the execution chamber.

McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc. says Arkansas failed to say it wanted to use its vecuronium bromide in executions. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray temporarily halted its use, but the state Supreme Court set aside the ruling. Arkansas subsequently executed four inmates in April, using McKesson's paralytic lethal-injection drug as the second step of a three-drug process.

The issue went before Gray again Wednesday. In papers filed ahead of the hearing, the state says McKesson has "seller's remorse" and cannot reverse the 2016 sale.

The state also wants to move the case to a different county. McKesson's lawyers say Arkansas is just seeking a more favorable venue.

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