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Drug shortage temporarily halts CA executions

September 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Executions in California have been temporarily halted due to a shortage of a drug used for lethal injections, said the state's attorney general's office on Monday.According to corrections officials, the state has not been able to secure supplies of sodium thiopental, the drug that renders inmates unconscious before lethal drugs are injected.

The drug shortage will not stop the planned execution of Albert Greenwood Brown, who is scheduled to die on Wednesday.

A Marin County judge refused a stay of execution for Brown on Monday, even though Brown has sued the state, saying its new lethal injection regulations were improperly adopted.

Friday, a federal judge blocked Brown's request to block the execution.

A spokesperson for the attorney general said other executions will not be scheduled until the drug supply is available.

Hospira, the drug's manufacturer, blames the shortage on issues they've had with their raw-material supplier since last spring. Hospira said the drug will be available in Januray 2011.

Nine states have a total of 17 executions scheduled between now and the end of January, including Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

"We are working to get it back onto the market for our customers as soon as possible," Hospira spokesman Dan Rosenberg said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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