As Arkansas moves forward with its brutal plan to execute seven prisoners within 11 days, the makers of the drugs Arkansas plans to use to put the prisoners to death have joined a lawsuit to stop the “conveyor belt of death.”

“[C]ourts might want to take note of Arkansas’ essentially lawless position. Seeking poisons to take human life, the state was thwarted because the makers of medicines refused to collaborate in killing.”
—Garrett Epps, The Atlantic“Pharmaceutical manufacturers develop drugs to save and improve lives, and the companies are understandably appalled at the prospect of their medicines being used in America’s largest mass execution since the civil rights era,” said Maya Foa, director of the human rights organization Reprieve, in a statement.

In their brief (pdf) filed Thursday, the companies Fresenius Kabi and West-Ward argue that “[t]he use of their medicines for lethal injections violates contractual supply-chain controls that the Manufacturers have implemented” and “[t]he use of their medicines for lethal injections […] creates a public-health risk because it could result in the denial of medicines from patients who need them most.”

As the Atlantic‘s Garrett Epps reported earlier this week, the state has in fact admitted breaching its contract with the drug companies to purchase the medicine from a third-party supplier.

Epps wrote: