Despite Protest from Johnson & Johnson, Florida Executes Man Using Untested Drug Cocktail

Florida has executed a 53-year-old man convicted of killing two men in 1987 by lethal injection. The execution, performed on Thursday evening, involved the use of a powerful chemical never before used in a U.S. execution. The anesthetic drug etomidate was developed by a division of Johnson & Johnson called Janssen, and has been criticized as being unproven in an execution. In response, the Johnson & Johnson division said, "We do not condone the use of our medicines in lethal injections for capital punishment." Johnson & Johnson has joined a chorus of pharmaceutical companies that have spoken out against the use of their medicines in U.S. executions. After European pharmaceutical companies began refusing to sell drugs to be used in executions, many states turned to untested drug combinations and drugs sourced through unconventional means. The controversial formulas used may have subjected at least one prisoner to an excruciating death equivalent to drowning.

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