Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced Friday that he is calling off a planned execution using the drug Propofol in the wake of threats from the European Union that the 27 country bloc will scrap exports of the drug altogether if it is used for lethal injection, the AP reports.
Nixon is a fervent death penalty supporter who saw 59 men executed during his tenure as attorney general in the state. Missouri been had slated to become the first state to use the drug in an execution October 23, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
The governor's announcement comes a day after German drug manufacturer Fresenius Kabi confirmed that it halted all shipments of the drug Propofol to a U.S.-based distributor after 20 vials were sent to Missouri for execution of prisoners on death row, Reuters reports. Shipments of the drug to Louisiana-based distributor Morris & Dickson were suspended from November 2012 to March 2013, the company stated.
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The EU has banned the death penalty, as well as the export of drugs for use in lethal injections. The company purportedly halted shipments over concerns that the EU would place an all-out ban on exports of Propofol if it is used in executions.
A majority of Propofol is produced in Europe, and the manufacturer says the drug is administered approximately 50 million times a year for surgical procedures in the United States.
Nearly two dozen Missouri death row inmates had filed a lawsuit over concerns that injection with an experimental drug would cause horrific pain and suffering.