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Pfizer agreed on Friday to tighten distribution of its medicines so they are not used in lethal injections, a move that eliminates the last legitimate source of drugs for prison executions in the United States.

More than two dozen drug makers in the United States and Europe had previously adopted such a policy, either for moral reasons or, in some cases, due to pressure from investors. But the Pfizer move, which was first reported by the New York Times, means that prison officials will have to find other means to obtain medicines for lethal injections.


“We can now say that all FDA-approved suppliers [of such drugs] have taken steps to prevent misuse of their medicines for executions,” said Maya Foa, who heads the Death Penalty project at Reprieve, an advocacy group in the United Kingdom, and who is also a consultant to Pfizer on the issue of lethal injections. “I think the message from industry is clear now and their wishes will be heeded.”

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