Department of Correction to rewrite execution protocol


LITTLE ROCK — The state Department of Correction will rewrite its execution protocol because the drugs it intended to use for lethal-injection procedures have become unavailable, a spokeswoman said Monday.

New Jersey-based West-Ward Pharmaceuticals closed its account with the agency last month because its London-based parent company, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, did not want its products used in executions. The state had purchased phenobarbital, a barbiturate, and lorazepam, a sedative, from West-Ward Pharmaceuticals with plans to use the drugs in executions.

“That pharmaceutical company closed our account; we’re not going to be able to acquire those any longer. So that’s the reason for the rewriting of the protocol,” said Department of Correction spokeswoman Shea Wilson.

Wilson said the new protocol likely would change the specific drugs to be used but would still comply with Act 139 of this year. The law directs the Department of Correction to carry out executions using a benzodiazepene, or a drug that slows the central nervous system and calms the prisoner, and “a barbiturate in an amount sufficient to cause death.”

No execution dates are currently set for any inmates in Arkansas.