Two losses for Laxalt

Attorney General Adam Laxalt opposes legal marijuana, the virtual wonder drug that has applications to maladies from cholera to epilepsy.

But Laxalt is in court these days trying to force a private company to let him use one of its medications to kill.

The drug is called midazolam, and it is used to ease anxiety before surgery. Side effects include difficulty in breathing and lower blood pressure. Ohio used it in a three-drug cocktail in a 2014 execution that went badly—it took the subject 24 minutes to die. When manufacturer Alvogen heard of Nevada’s plan to do something similar, it forbade the use, saying its drugs should be employed only “in accordance with FDA-approved indications.” It says Nevada obtained the drug illegally.

Laxalt—forgetting his supposed allegiance to private enterprise—tried to override the company’s decision but failed in U.S. District Court and is now headed for the U.S. Court of Appeals. State district court judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ruled Alvogen has reasonable probability of winning the lawsuit and issued a restraining order against use of midazolam. That wasn’t Laxalt’s only loss. Gonzalez allowed Hikma Pharmaceuticals to join the case in opposition to Nevada’ use of a second drug, fentanyl.

The state wants to use midazolam to cause an inmate to fall unconscious, then use fentanyl to slow his breathing. Then, cisatracurium would be employed to stop his breathing.

Laxalt’s courtroom and campaign styles are similar. He and his deputies throw insults at their courtroom adversaries that are in avoidance of the issues at hand. Laxalt filed a brief that said Alvogen is “scor[ing] points in the public relations arena. … Here, the District Court took the bait.”

One of Laxalt’s deputies, while he tried to win approval of the drug for a use not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, attacked pharmaceutical maker Hikma as “responsible for illegal overdoses every day.”