Coronavirus sedatives in short supply could be found in states' lethal injection stockpiles, doctors say

Doctors are interested midazolam, vecuronium bromide, rocuronium bromide and fentanyl

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A group of doctors and health researchers asked state correctional facility directors to open up their supplies of drugs used in lethal injections to help treat coronavirus patients.

"These medicines were never made or developed to cause death – to the contrary, many were formulated to connect patients to life‐saving ventilators and lessen the discomfort of intubation," the group wrote in a letter.

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The doctors are interested in the drugs midazolam, vecuronium bromide, rocuronium bromide and fentanyl, which the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has on its shortage list.

A ventilator at the Universitaetsklinikum Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany, on March 25, 2020. (AXEL HEIMKEN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

"Based on publicly available information from a handful of states, stockpiled execution drug supplies could be used to treat over a hundred COVID‐19 patients," the doctors wrote. "When one factors in the drugs held by states that refuse to release details of their supplies, it is likely many times that number of patients could benefit from their release."

The U.S. reported more than 609,000 coronavirus cases and 26,000 deaths as of Wednesday.

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