Legal Times – Import of Lethal Injection Drug Blocked by D.C. Circuit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was wrong to allow states to import a “misbranded and unapproved new drug” used in lethal injection cocktails without first examining it, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled today.

In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel upheld a trial judge’s order blocking the FDA from allowing continued imports of sodium thiopental. The court found the agency “acted in derogation” of its duty to examine foreign shipments of a drug prepared by a company not registered with the FDA. The court rejected the agency’s argument that it had discretion in deciding whether to review the shipments and could permit unreviewed imports in deference to law enforcement agencies.