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FDA can't allow execution drug to be imported

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 11:30 a.m. CDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that the Food and Drug Administration violated its duty by allowing a misbranded and unapproved new drug to be imported for use in lethal injections.

The three-judge panel Tuesday affirmed a lower court ruling barring the FDA from importing sodium thiopental — rejecting the agency's argument that it had discretion to allow unapproved drugs into the U.S.

But the panel reversed another part of the lower court's order and allowed state correctional departments to keep stocks of the drug they currently have.

Sodium thiopental is an anesthetic used to put inmates to sleep before other lethal drugs are administered.

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