The American Pharmacists Association is against execution drugs. With this move, the association is trying to discourage its members from making the substances used during executions.
American Pharmacists Association (AphA) CEO Thomas Menighan made the following statement:
“Pharmacists are health care providers and pharmacist participation in executions conflicts with the profession’s role on the patient health care team. This new policy aligns APhA with the execution policies of other major health care associations including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Board of Anesthesiology.”
The association doesn’t have the legal power to prohibit its more than 62,000 members from selling the drugs but its guidelines are very important in setting pharmacists’ ethical standards.
Michelle Spinnler spokeswoman for the AphA explained that this move was made as a way to increase public attention in regards to lethal drugs. This event is also linked to the Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily suspend the execution of three convicts on death row in Oklahoma which came after Clayton Lockett’s failed execution.
About one year ago, Lockett who was given the death penalty, was administered a defective lethal injection. As a result, he laid in excruciating pain on the gurney for about 43 minutes before dying of a heart attack.
The companies that make the products used in executions decided almost unanimously to stop selling those products to prisons that used them for death penalty related purposes. This led to states turning to compounded preparations.
But this goes against pharmacists’ profession. As Spinnler also stated, pharmacists should not be involved in the preparation of substances used for executions as that means they are involved in those types of punishment. And that goes against ethical standards.
Ohio officials announced the use of either pentobarbital or sodium thiopental in future executions but is currently lacking both substances and hasn’t given any information regarding how these substances would be obtained.
Due to the lack of lethal compounds, all executions scheduled for 2015 were postponed until 2016 so that the state had time to acquire the drugs.
Other states said they would resort to other methods of execution if lethal-injection drugs wouldn’t become available. The use of the electric chair was implemented in Tennessee while Utah approved the firing squad.
Oklahoma’s plans imply becoming the first state to use nitrogen gas as a possible method of execution.
Image Source: CBS News