Execution blocked after company objects to use of its drug

Dozier, a twice-convicted killer who attempted suicide in the past, repeated his desire to die during a brief telephone interview Sunday with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The lawsuit said that to perpetuate the deception, the authorities had the midazolam shipped to the department of correction's central pharmacy rather than to the prison where the execution is to take place.

"Alvogen has undertaken controls to avoid diversion of this product for use in execution protocols", the company states on its website concerning midazolam.

The pharmaceutical company Alvogen filed a challenge on Wednesday, accusing the state of Nevada of surreptitiously obtaining the sedative Midazolam for executions and saying that it did not want the drug used in executions.

The order is the first time a drug company has successfully sued to halt an execution in the US involving one of its drugs.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ordered the delay after a hearing in which drugmaker Alvogen said the Nevada obtained the product through "subterfuge" for unapproved purposes.

The company argues that it would suffer "immediate and irreparable harm" should the execution proceed.

"NDOC has been advised not to comment on the lawsuit", department spokeswoman Brooke Santina said in an email Tuesday. He said Alvogen had sent a letter to state officials in April telling them it opposes the use of its products in executions, particularly midazolam.

The judge ruled that based on that letter, Alvogen had a reasonable chance of winning its lawsuit, and she issued the temporary restraining order against the use of the drug.

Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die and doesn't care if it's painful.

Jordan T. Smith, an assistant Nevada solicitor general, countered at Wednesday's hearing that Nevada didn't put up a "smokescreen" or do anything wrong in getting the drugs. But the legal challenge filed by Alvogen is only the second of its kind in the USA, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington.

Sandoz produces the paralytic cisatracurium and the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which are two of the three drugs Nevada had planned to use on Dozier in a first-of-its-kind combination.

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"Midazolam is not approved for use in such an application", the document said, adding uses of midazolam in other states "have been extremely controversial and have led to widespread concern that prisoners have been exposed to cruel and unusual treatment".

Last year, a pharmaceutical company sued the state of Arkansas over drugs used in its lethal injections, but was unsuccessful.

Alvogen Inc., which manufacturers the sedative midazolam, filed a "complaint for emergency injunctive relief and return of illegally obtained property" in Clark County District Court.

The midazolam is expected to render Dozier unconscious before he is injected with the fentanyl. Under Nevada's new execution protocol, the inmate is next given fentanyl and then cisatracurium, one to slow his breathing, the other to stop it. The company said the authorities deliberately sought to circumvent attempts to keep the drug out of the hands of the executioners.

Dozier suspended any appeals of his conviction and sentence, which would make him one of about 10 percent of the 1,477 inmates who gave up appeals and were executed nationwide since 1977, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

"Life in prison isn't a life", the 47-year-old Army veteran and methamphetamine user and dealer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently.

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration confiscated execution drugs from Texas and Arizona that had been wrongly purchased from India, according to news reports at the time.

Dozier was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Jeremiah Miller, who was killed and dismembered in 2002. Miller had come to Nevada to buy ingredients to make meth. His decapitated torso was found in a suitcase. A witness testified Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Greene's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic storage container.

Midazolam has been used with inconsistent results in states including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida and Ohio.

Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier, right, confers with Lori Teicher, a federal public defender involved in his case, in 2017.

His would be the first execution in Nevada since 2006. Dunham noted the 2014 executions of Dennis McGuire in OH and Joseph Rudolph Wood III in Arizona left both inmates gasping and snorting before they died.

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