Pfizer Blocks Drugs For Lethal Injection, Monsters Of Poetry, Sexism And Wisconsin Politics

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A recent report shows women politicians in Wisconsin deal with a variety of harassment, regardless of which side of the aisle they’re on. A journalist talks about the verbal attacks lawmakers have to deal with. We also learn about Milwaukee’s Monsters of Poetry, and look at Pfizer’s decision to block the use of its drugs in executions.

Featured in this Show

  • Another Drug Company Distances Itself From Death Penalty

    Drug companies are forbidding states with the death penalty from using their drugs to perform lethal injections in an effort to preserve their big brands, but it’s coming with some unintended consequences, according to one legal expert.

    Pfizer announced last week it will block its drugs from being used in lethal injections. More than 20 drug companies have adopted similar restrictions, leaving states that use the death penalty scrambling to find supplies and looking into other methods to carry out executions.

    “The pharmaceutical companies are big brand names and so they have stakeholders and they have brand images and bottom lines to protect, so they’re taking these steps as business decisions in the best interest of their brand names,” said Megan McCracken, legal counselor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Death Penalty Clinic.

    McCracken said drug companies first began telling states that they don’t want their products involved with capital punishment as early as 2001.

    “But it’s only more recently, since 2011, that pharmaceutical companies have taken more effective concrete steps to actually prevent. Department of Corrections from getting their drugs,” said McCracken. “The policy has always been there, it’s just that more recently they have put what they call restrictive distribution systems in place to actually stop the states from purchasing the drugs.”

    As pharmaceutical companies make their drugs unavailable, states are responding by passing laws to make their death-penalty procedures confidential.

    “It makes it very difficult for the public, for the courts and for condemned prisoners to really know how an execution is going to proceed — like exactly what drug will be used, who made it and how the state will use it,” McCracken said.

    Additionally, some states have attempted to illegally import unapproved drugs from overseas. On several occasions in recent years, federal agents have denied execution drugs into the United States.

    Compared to death by electric chair or firing squad, lethal injections were widely seen as the more humane form of capital punishment. But McCracken said new research is calling that into question.

    She added that the shortage of drug products to perform lethal injection hasn’t led to a kind of de facto end to state-assisted executions. Moreover, the federal government, which also enforces the death penalty, is expect to release a new protocol based on recent research and the drug restrictions.

  • The Impact Of Pfizer Blocking Its Drugs From Being Used In Executions

    Drug company Pfizer announced last week it will block its drugs from being used in lethal injections. The decision closes all “open market” options to states using drugs as part of the death penalty. Our guest explains the impact of the decision, and talks about other options for states.

  • Wisconsin Life: The Power of Poetry

    On today’s Wisconsin Life we’ll hear about a poet who found her “book home” in a place that’s been nurturing poets for decades. And we’ll speak with Madison’s Poet Laureate, Oscar Mireles.

  • How Women In Politics Handle Hate

    Our guest reporter says women in politics face a remarkable amount of sexism and hate. We look at what women in politics face and how some of them work to handle the hate in the age of social media.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Matt Oleson Producer
  • Karl Christenson Producer
  • Veronica Rueckert Producer
  • Megan McCracken Guest
  • Oscar Mireles Guest
  • Jessie Opoien Guest

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