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Top Drug Manufacturer To Florida: Don’t Use Our Drugs For Executions

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter

A subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, came out in protest Monday against Florida using its drugs to perform lethal injection executions.

Florida resorted to using J&J’s etomidate anesthetic after the state ran out of the more traditional sedative midazolam earlier this year. The state plans to use the drug for the first time ever Thursday on Mark Asay, who was convicted for a 1987 double murder, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The company protests the use of its drug on the grounds that it hasn’t received government approval for use in executions. Etomidate would be the first drug administered to Asay on Thursday, followed by a second drug to induce paralysis and a third to stop his heart.

“We do not support the use of our medicines for indications that have not been approved by regulatory authorities,” a Janssen spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We do not condone the use of our medicines in lethal injections for capital punishment.”

J&J is one of several drug manufacturers to publicly oppose their drugs being used for lethal injections. Baxter International, McKesson, Pfizer, and Roche Holding have all condemned lethal injections, citing the possibility of pain for those being executed. Critics say the companies only hold the stance to gain public approval, and the Florida Supreme Court ruled last week that Asay’s execution could move forward because he only faced a negligible risk of pain.

Some of these companies are facing public relations crises already. McKesson had to fork over $150 million to the Department of Justice in January for its role in sparking the opioid epidemic in the U.S. The pharma giant is also facing lawsuits from the cities of Louisville, Cincinnati, and several other jurisdictions for the same reason. (RELATED: Big Pharma Fighting 25 Lawsuits For Role In Drug Epidemic)

A California Court ordered J&J Monday to pay a woman $417 million in damages after she got cancer from using the company’s baby powder for decades.

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