Judge Grants Drug Company Temporary Restraining Order; All Executions Put On Hold

LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — A judge has ruled that the state will not be able to use one of the drugs used in the execution process, halting the upcoming executions altogether.

A 6th Judicial Court judge has ruled in favor of drug distributor, McKesson Medical-Surgical Incorporated’s claim that the state misled the company when the Arkansas Department of Correction purchased 10 vials of vecuronium bromide.

The company said that it “would not knowingly sell any prescription drug to [Arkansas Department of Correction] for any purpose unless the ADC had a current medical license to file.”

McKesson said that ADC is a long time customer of the company and for most of the relationship, the ADC largely bought medical surgical supplies and other related items. In July 2016, McKesson claimed that ADC “leveraged” its medical license to purchase the 10 vials of vecuronium bromide.

“In doing so, ADC led McKesson to believe that the order was placed at the request of or for the benefit of the licensed physician and would be used for a legitimate medical purpose,” McKesson said in the court document.

The company said that ADC placed the order for the drug over the phone and never disclosed that the drug was to be used for executions.

McKesson cited a testimony from Rory Griffin, ADC Deputy Director, in which he said ADC “undertook these actions” knowing that the manufacturer of the drug doesn’t permit it to be used in executions.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will appeal this decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday (April 19), according to Rutledge spokesman Judd Deere.