20th June, 2011

Southern Center for Human Rights Files Complaint Seeking Revocation of Dr. Carlo Musso’s Medical License

Evidence sent to Georgia Medical Board shows Dr. Musso and CorrectHealth, LLC, illegally imported and distributed drugs to be used in executions

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – Today, the Southern Center for Human Rights (“SCHR”) filed a complaint with the Georgia Composite Medical Board against Carlo Anthony Musso, MD, seeking the revocation or suspension of his medical license based upon his involvement in illegally importing and distributing the drug, sodium thiopental, to be used in carrying out the death penalty.

The law, both federal and state, is clear: no person or organization may import or distribute a controlled substance without first registering with both the Georgia Board of Pharmacy and the federal Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) of the Attorney General.  The complaint filed today presents evidence that Carlo Anthony Musso, M.D., owner and operator of the Georgia-based companies CorrectHealth and Rainbow Medical Associates, had no such licenses when he imported sodium thiopental into the United States and distributed it to the departments of corrections in Kentucky and Tennessee. In doing so, Dr. Musso violated a host of state and federal criminal laws including, for example, both the state and federal Controlled Substances Acts.

Since the spring of 2010, there has been a nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental, one of three drugs commonly used by states to carry out executions. Because sodium thiopental is necessary to eliminate the pain that would otherwise be experienced by administration of the other two drugs, the shortage of sodium thiopental places the states’ ability to carry out executions in jeopardy.  As a result, those states that used the drug as the critical anesthetic to carry out a sentence of death by lethal injection scrambled to find alternative sources.  

The Georgia Department of Corrections (“DOC”) secured its supply from a London-based pharmaceutical supplier (Dream Pharma) that operated out of the back of a driving school. In March, 2011, the Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) seized Georgia’s supply amid questions about how the drug was imported into the United States.

Dr. Musso’s company, CorrectHealth, also purchased and imported a supply of sodium thiopental from Dream Pharma. In addition to importing this drug, Dr. Musso sold his supply to Kentucky and Tennessee, two other states desperate to obtain the highly sought-after sodium thiopental. Just as the DEA seized the drugs purchased by the Georgia DOC, the DEA followed Dr. Musso’s unregistered sales of the illegally obtained sodium thiopental and seize the drugs purchased by Kentucky and Tennessee.

According to their website, the Georgia Composite Medical Board “is charged with the responsibility of evaluating when a physician’s or other allied health care provider’s professional conduct . . . warrants modification, suspension or revocation of the license to practice their profession in the State of Georgia”. The Board is authorized to take disciplinary action in the event of a violation of laws, rules or regulations. The Complaint filed with the Board today presents evidence and documents that show the pattern of illegal actions taken by Dr. Musso and his companies in pursuit of importing and distributing sodium thiopental.

“This complaint is not about Dr. Musso’s role at state-sponsored executions - this is a complaint about the law and whether the person importing and distributing the drug is properly licensed. Dr. Musso was not,” states SCHR Attorney Jessica Oats. “Georgia’s Medical Board should revoke Dr. Musso’s license to practice medicine; at the very least, it should suspend his license pending a full investigation.”


For additional information or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathryn Hamoudah at 404/688-1202.

You can read the complaint here.
To read the supplement to the original complaint, click here.