High Praise: Pfizer Declares It Shall “No Longer Tinker With The Machinery Of Death”

There is a twisted (and more than occasionally sordid) back-story here — even though this development has been long-delayed, I won’t belabor it. I am all about heaping praise, this fine Saturday morning — on Pfizer.

So. . . I shout praise — thank you, Pfizer — and yes, thank you, Chairman Ian C. Read! The big blue pill company has made an excellent — and moral — choice. I applaud it. [My headline above is a quote from a famous Justice Blackmun dissent in a United States Supreme Court death-penalty case, of the last century.] I cannot say enough about how gratified I am (having worked toward this goal when I was an internal part of this industry) to learn that — as a now united, unanimous industry — FDA regulated multi-national pharmaceutical companies have turned their collective back on the small handful of states in our Union that still wish to use pharmaceutical grade injected posions to kill inmates.

Thus the final and effective end of the death penalty in America may be achieved not so much in the courts or legislatures — but in the lack of supplies: i.e., a court accepted mechanism for implementing it, consistent with all of our existing precedents under the Eighth amendment. Here is a bit of The New York Times on it, overnight (do go read it all):

. . . .”With Pfizer’s announcement, all F.D.A.-approved manufacturers of any potential execution drug have now blocked their sale for this purpose,” said Maya Foa, who tracks drug companies for Reprieve, a London-based human rights advocacy group. “Executing states must now go underground if they want to get hold of medicines for use in lethal injection.”

The obstacles to lethal injection have grown in the last five years as manufacturers, seeking to avoid association with executions, have barred the sale of their products to corrections agencies. Experiments with new drugs, a series of botched executions and covert efforts to obtain lethal chemicals have mired many states in court challenges. . . .

The arc of the dream that is America inexorably once again bends toward. . . progress — toward hope. Toward a more civil union, ruled by law — not men. And for that, I am grateful — on to a trail-bike ride, and workout, on brisk Saturday then. Onward!

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