"Ohio, in last use of lethal-injection drug, executes gunman who spewed slurs before killings," is yesterday's AP report, via the Washington Post.
A white gunman who spewed racial slurs before fatally shooting a black man and a police officer in a 1994 rampage that prosecutors called one of Ohio’s worst crimes was put to death Wednesday with the state’s last dose of its execution drug.
Before the drug began to flow, Harry Mitts Jr. asked the families of his victims — John Bryant and Garfield Heights police Sgt. Dennis Glivar — to forgive him and not to hold hatred for him in their hearts.
Mitts was pronounced dead at 10:39 a.m. by lethal injection. He made snoring noises initially as the powerful sedative pentobarbital was administered. Prisons director Gary Mohr said the state is on track to tell a court next week how its executions will proceed now that its drug supply has expired.
It was Ohio's third execution of 2013; its 52nd post-Furman executions since 1999.
Today, AP posts, "Ohio looks to future executions with a new drug," by Julie Carr Smyth. It's via the San Francisco Chronicle.
Prisons director Gary Mohr said the state is on track to tell a court by Oct. 4 how its executions will proceed now that its drug supply has expired.
"We are looking at whether we need to change the protocol or not, quite frankly," he told reporters at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.
A prisons agency lawyer said earlier this year legislation may be needed to protect specialty pharmacies that might mix supplies of execution drugs from sanctions like losing their state accreditation. So-called compounding pharmacies mix specific doses of drugs for patients.
When asked Wednesday if Ohio will have to choose a different drug whether or not it changes its execution rules, Mohr said "not necessarily." He declined to elaborate.
Fierce Pharma posts, "Lundbeck's restrictions on Nembutal complicating executions," by Eric Palmer.
Steps taken by Danish drugmaker Lundbeck to keep U.S. states from using one of its drugs to execute prisoners are working, sort of. States are running out of unexpired supplies of Lundbeck's pentobarbital but are turning to alternatives, not halting executions.
Ohio will use Lundbeck's pentobarbital for today's scheduled execution of convicted murderer Harry Mitts, Jr., but acknowledged its supplies will expire before its next execution in November, Reuters reports. The state pledged, however, to have another drug protocol in place so that it can put Ronald Phillips to death on Nov. 14.
In 2011, Lundbeck put in place new contracts that prohibited wholesalers from selling the drug to prisons in states that have capital punishment. It was under pressure at the time to withdraw the drug altogether from the marketplace but refused. It said it objected to the drug being used to execute people, but there were epilepsy patients who benefited from it. "We can't guarantee anything, but we are convinced that our new distribution program will significantly limit prisons' misuse of Nembutal in executions while at the same time ensuring that patients continue to have access to a live-saving drug," an official said at the time.
And the evidence suggests that policy is keeping states from getting their hands on more of the drug. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice last month said that the state's supply of pentobarbital was also about to expire, but Reuters reports it has since retracted that claim without explanation. Texas started using pentobarbital last year after Hospira ($HSP) stopped making sodium thiopental, which Texas previously used in an execution cocktail of three drugs. States then started importing unapproved foreign versions of that drug, but a federal judge put a stop to that last year. He slammed the FDA for allowing unapproved foreign versions to be imported explicitly for executions and ordered the agency to prohibit states from using any they had on hand.
Earlier coverage from Ohio begins at the link.