How can there be a shortage of execution drugs?

Story here. Also here. Apparently it’s a multi-state problem.

Here’s what I don’t get: Why don’t they just use the same stuff veterinarians use to euthanize animals? There’s no shortage of that, is there?

Switching to other drugs is exactly what they’re doing.

But they can’t exactly just go to the local CVS and ask for the drugs. They need to deal with suppliers at a bit higher level.

A lot of compounding pharmacies refuse to make drugs used to kill people, leading to state officials sometimes outright lying to them about the purpose, falsifying prescriptions, or trying to find pharmacies that will work with them.

ETA: I should add, this is exactly why they’re switching to other drugs in the first place. The makers of some components of the original 3 drug cocktail refused to sell to state governments for the purpose of execution and forbade re-sellers from doing the same. This was due to pressure from death penalty opponents. The cost of doing business got high enough they opted out.

Your own cite gives the reasons - some pharmaceutical companies won’t sell to them, and anti-DP groups sue them no matter what they use.


Yeah, it’s not a shortage. It’s companies attempting to control the use to which their product goes.

Sounds like a business opportunity just waiting to be taken advantage of.

Abolish the death penalty.

[Homer Simpson]Problem solved.[/Homer Simpson]

Legislators in several states have begun considering a return to earlier methods.

Yep, when we hung Smirky Pete for molesting livestock, we had to go out-of-town to procure a grade-A rope since the local storekeep refused to do business on account Pete was his best customer for Ladies’ Necessaries Catalogs from the East.
Then we swung the storekeep.

The label states, “For use in animals only” (or something similar). It can’t be used in humans.

I’ve commented before that some of these drugs were originally made by “chemists” (the old term for what we’d today call a pharmacist or specifically a compounding pharmacist) in back room labs at the rear of their shops. I’m not sure why a state department of prisons doesn’t just post a pharmacist position and have them do compounding on the side as needed. It’d be a small amount of work per year, and I imagine with prison hospitals and such there might be a need for prison pharmacists in any case?

My grandfather was a pharmacist from the old days and I knew he used to do all kinds of actual drug making. Is that not part of the pharmacy curriculum any longer? By the time I was born and knew him he had transitioned more to a business-owner role, but we have photos of him working in his shop back in the 20s and such making stuff.

Might there not be rules against a pharmacist deliberately concocting medicines for the purpose of killing humans?

Because then the anti-DP groups would sue you and try to get your license revoked so you couldn’t be a pharmacist. They would also claim that any drug that didn’t come from a pharmaceutical company constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

They will do anything and everything they can think of to interfere with the execution. It’s what they do.


Those bastards!

Yes, this is a disgusting and an unfair use of the legal process and the free market. These kinds of tactics should only be used to restrict access to abortion and birth control.

Not a particularly good analogy, IMO.


I’m not surprised. But in any case there are shortages because of legal and regulatory issues and concerns from both manufacturers and shareholders, and you can’t just substitute anything for those drugs - that’s both a legal and regulatory matter.

It’s the same tactic used by all groups with borderline agendas. Can’t outlaw abortion? Throw up huge mandated counseling and wait-time barriers. Can’t save some minimal endangered species? Outlaw some critical component of the process threatening them. Can’t end executions? Legislate a very narrow range of “acceptable” thanatotics, then find some thin pharmaceutical basis to drive them off the market.

In the US legal world, a wall of tissue paper is as impenetrable as one of concrete.

It’s not only a U.S. legal issue. Some companies just don’t want their drugs used to kill people.

I wonder if arms manufacturers would similarly object to their products being used for firing squads?

Yeah, the same companies that can’t spare stockholder profits for diseases killing an insufficient number of people much larger than the total number of LI executions.

I am soooo impressed by their ethical stand. :rolleyes: