Pharmacists Association discourages providing drugs for executions

Texas Department of Criminal Justice facing drug shortage

SAN DIEGO – The American Pharmacists Association meeting has adopted a new policy discouraging its members from participating in executions by providing drugs used for executions after pharmaceutical manufacturers stopped selling drugs to U.S. prisons.

The Texas Department of Corrections announced last week that they had only enough pentobarbital, one of the drugs in the three drug mixture used in executions, for the four executions scheduled for next month.

San Antonio attorney Warren Wolf, who has successfully argued against the death penalty before the U.S. Supreme Court, applauded the pharmacists' position.

"For the profession to do something that is harmful to an individual, regardless if they are in the criminal justice system, is contrary to their guidelines," Wolf said.

Wolf also added he doubts the move will stop executions, but said perhaps it would slow them down.

"There's other ways to kill people," Wolf said. "To use something where you have to rely on the medical profession is a problem."

Former Bexar County District Judge Mark Luitjen, a death penalty proponent, called executions "a justified retribution."

"Some cases are just so heinous, so ugly, so bad – use any adjective you want to – it just seems to me it screams for some kind of retribution."

The pharmacists association's position is not legally binding.


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