Pharmaceutical Company Protests Use of Drug in Death Sentences

Pharmaceutical company Alvogen is spearheading a lawsuit objecting to the use of their drugs in the execution of a prisoner in Nevada. The company, whose lawsuit has been joined by Hikma Pharmaceuticals, also alleges that Nevada obtained the drugs for inmate Scott Raymond Dozier improperly.

Alvogen is an American pharmaceutical company founded by Icelander Vilhelm Róbert Wessman in 2009 with operations in Iceland since 2010. The company’s European headquarters are located in Reykjavík, and the company’s website states “a large part of the group’s global key managers are Icelanders.”

Nevada law states capital punishment should be carried out by lethal injection. Alvogen, however, have objected to the use of their sedative midazolam in the state’s executions. The Nevada Supreme Court has argued that the lawsuit is “part of a guerrilla war against the death penalty,” while Deputy Solicitor General Jordan T. Smith called it a “public relations wave.”

Dozier, 47, has said he wants the sentence to be carried out rather than spend his life in prison.

Icelandic media has picked up on the case, which has been making headlines in the United States. Read more about the case in English.

Locals to Name New Lake

A campaign has begun to find a name for a new lake formed by a recent landslide in West Iceland, RÚVreports. The landslide, which occurred on July 7 on Fagraskógarfjall mountain in Hítardalur, is thought to be the largest in Icelandic history. The event flooded Hitará river, causing a lake to be formed one side of it – and the lake is here to stay.

The Icelandic Place Name Committee (Örnefnanefnd) and Borgarbyggð municipal council are working together to find a name for the new lake – as well as the landslide that caused it. Gunnlaugur Júlíusson, director of Borgarbyggð council, says the process began by inviting landowners in the area to submit suggestions. The suggested names are then sent to the Place Name Committee, which returns them to council with their comments. It’s he council which has the final say in naming the two new features of the local landscape.

Pilot Whales Fond of Fjord

Pilot whales which were herded out of Kolgrafafjörður in West Iceland by Search and Rescue crews have returned to the fjord, RÚV reports.

“They’re just here, splashing around calmly in one group,” Bjarni Sigurbjörnsson, a resident of the area told RÚV. Bjarni says it is the first time he has seen pilot whales in Kolgrafafjörður in over 20 years working in the area, and indeed the animals tend to stick to deeper waters.

Concerned the whales were stuck, Search and Rescue crews used two boats to herd the pod out of through the fjord’s narrow opening. The task did not go smoothly, as the animals appeared to be startled by the bridge which spans the opening of the fjord.

Photo: a screenshot from RÚV.

The whales were finally herded out around 9.00pm last night, but have since returned. Bjarni can see them through the window of his farm, frolicking some 50 metres from the shore. “Something is telling them to come in here,” he says.

Einar Þór Strand, a search and rescue volunteer involved in the operation, said herding whales with a boat “is really just as if you’re a dog herding sheep. The trouble was that when they reached the bridge the current was against them and they didn’t want to swim against the current. So we waited for the tide to turn and for it to go out, held them there by the bridge and when the first animal went the rest of the pod followed.”

Now that the whales are back again, Bjarni says he does not know if search and rescue teams will attempt another rescue operation. “As long as they’re not getting beached we should maybe just let them be,” he said. Watch drone footage of the whale rescue operation on RÚV’s website.