Today's Austin American-Statesman reports, "Records: Texas bought execution drugs before supply dwindled." It's by Mike Ward.
Turned down in their request for secrecy by state Attorney General Greg Abbott for the second time in as many months, Texas prison officials have revealed that their large stockpile of lethal injection drugs — probably the largest in the country — came from a South Carolina pharmaceutical supplier.
In releasing invoices and other records about its supply chain, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shed new light on how it obtained the stockpile of a key drug used in executions last year, at a time when other states were unable to purchase any and some were being forced to switch to other drugs.
The information confirmed that Texas purchased its lethal drugs in spring 2011 through a U.S.-based supplier, not through a shadowy overseas network that several other states had used last year — actions that drew federal agents to seize illegally imported drugs.
Texas appeared to get a head start on other states by buying the drugs when supplies were still available. By the summer of 2011, the domestic supplies had mostly dried up — and the other states were left hunting for pentobarbital in places such as England and Pakistan.
Last month, the Texas agency, which operates the busiest death chamber in the United States, confirmed that it had enough lethal drugs on hand to carry out as many as 23 executions — and that it does not prepare backup doses of the three drugs, as officials previously had said state policy requires.
Invoices made public by the agency Wednesday show that more than $51,000 worth of the powerful sedative Nembutal, a brand name for pentobarbital, was purchased in March and April 2011 through Physician Sales and Service in Houston.
Other forms disclosed Wednesday show it was shipped from company offices in West Columbia, S.C.
Calls to the company in both locations were not returned. Company officials previously had not commented about the sales.
The newly disclosed documents reveal that in one shipment, three of 39 vials of Nembutal were broken in transit. The state received a credit for the breakage, according to the records.
Earlier coverage of Texas' lethal injection drugs and TDCJ's resistance to releasing public information begins at the link.