Lawmakers Press Amazon on Sales of Chemical Used in Suicides

In a written response to lawmakers Thursday, Brian Hussein, Amazon’s vice president for public policy, expressed condolences to the families of the dead while defending Amazon’s practices and compound sales. He said it was used for various purposes and was available from other retailers.

“Amazon makes a wide selection of products available to our customers because we are confident that they will use those products as intended by the manufacturers,” he wrote. “Like so many widely available consumer products,” he added, the compound “could unfortunately be abused.”

Lawmakers found the company’s answers inadequate.

Representative Trahan said, “Amazon had the opportunity to collaborate with us on this issue with their response which sadly ends the lives of people across our country. “Instead, they failed to answer many of our critical questions.”

In an email exchange with The Times, an Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the 10 deaths identified by The Times.

Other sites said they banned the sale of the compound.

Last year, an eBay director wrote to a coroner in England that the company had banned global sales of the compound in 2019 after receiving reports of its potential use in suicide. However, The Times has since identified eight suicides associated with the eBay poison sale, including the death that the coroner was reviewing.

eBay did not respond to detailed emails and messages seeking comment. But in a letter to the coroner, the eBay director acknowledged that despite the ban, “it was possible for unethical or unscrupulous vendors to ignore our policies and filters.” He wrote that the company would support government restrictions on the online sale of chemicals to prevent future suicides.

In November 2020, Etsy banned the sale of the compound, a spokesman said, refusing to give a reason. An Etsy customer posted in May 2018 that he was considering using his purchase to commit suicide. In August 2020, a 35-year-old man in Mississippi wrote on a suicide site that he had bought a compound at the site. Days later, he died.

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