The Food and Drug Administration lacks jurisdiction to regulate lethal injection drugs, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel said in a legal opinion made public Tuesday.
The OLC opinion, signed by Donald Trump appointee Steven Engel, says that the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) doesn’t apply to drugs meant to “effectuate capital punishment.” The Washington Post first reported on the existence of the memo.
OLC, which serves as a quasi-judicial component of the executive branch, said that the drugs would be effectively prohibited if the FDCA applied.
“The FDCA’s regulatory framework for ‘drugs’ and ‘devices’ cannot sensibly be applied to such articles. If the FDCA applied to electric chairs, gallows, gas chambers, firearms used in firing squads, and substances used in lethal-injection protocols, the statute would effectively ban those articles,” the opinion stated.
Read the full opinion below.