That's the title of a report issued by the Center for Public Integrity subtitled, "Pentobarbital, now most-commonly used execution drug, likely to face barriers in coming months." It's written by Kimberly Leonard. Here's a brief excerpt from this must-read:
The logical alternative to sodium thiopental is pentobarbital, an anesthetic that causes people to lose consciousness, sensation and memory. Since 2010, 12 state justice departments have used pentobarbital, a drug veterinarians also administer to euthanize animals, to execute 47 inmates, usually as part of a three-drug cocktail, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization that publishes annual reports on capital punishment.
With sodium thiopental now nearly impossible to access, pentobarbital is likely to become even more critical for those who want to carry out executions in the near future, Richard Dieter, executive director for the Death Penalty Information Center, told iWatch News. If the restrictions become effective, correctional departments may have to choose another drug or form of execution altogether, he said.
But pentobarbital could eventually become scarce. Most state justice departments say that for security reasons they cannot specify how much of the drug they have stored, but pentobarbital’s manufacturers for human uses have in recent months acted on a number of fronts to prevent its use for executions.
Lundbeck Inc., a Danish pharmaceutical company that manufactured the drug until late last year, sent letters last August to governors and correctional departments in 16 states — Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — saying it did not want its drug used for executions.
When that request was ignored, the company switched from using several distributors last June to using a drop ship program, selling its product directly to health care facilities through a single distributor, Cardinal Health. In addition, every medical facility that received the drugs had to sign a document saying the product would not be used for executions or resold for that purpose.
“We stated very clearly that we’re in the business of improving peoples lives and using it for capital punishment is against what we do,” Matt Flesch, spokesman for Lundbeck, told iWatch News.
Finally last December Lundbeck sold its pentobarbital rights to Illinois-based Akorn Inc., which signed an agreement promising it would not sell the drug for the purpose of executions.
Related posts are in the lethal injection index. Notable recent posts include:
- TDCJ Continues Push for Privacy
- Nebraska Editorial on State's Search for Drugs
- Additional Coverage of Beaty v. FDA Ruling
- From Colorado
- Maya Foa on Foreign-Sourced Lethal Injection Drugs
- The Cost of Lethal Injection Drugs
- Oklahoma Also Running Low on Execution Drugs
- Following Up on the Path of the Oregon LI Drugs
- Hospira Under Fire for Sales of Pancuronium, Used in Execution
- European Union Steps Up Pressure With New Controls
- Lundbeck Pushes Ban as Virginia Executes