California buys up execution drug

CALIFORNIA has bought a large batch of a drug used for executions from Britain after running out of supplies, officials say, stressing that the shipment does not break any US rules.

The supply of 521 grams of sodium thiopental, made by British drug company Archimedes Pharma, was ordered before British authorities announced new export controls for the powerful anaesthetic late last month.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said today it had bought the drug through a distributor, not directly from the British company, which has denied exporting the chemical.

"They supply the drug to distributors; we worked worked with the distributor," said CDCR spokesman Terry Thornton, adding: "We worked in accordance with all state and federal laws to obtain this shipment."