Pharmacy Group Advises Members Not to Sell Death Penalty Drugs

A leading group of U.S. pharmacists is taking a stand against drugs used to execute prisoners, a move that will likely make it tougher for states to acquire the chemicals need for lethal injections.

The American Pharmacists Association decided in its annual meeting Monday that its 62,000 members should not be providing the lethal drugs because “such activities are fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as providers of health care.”

The group’s strong stance will likely make execution drugs even tougher for state prison systems to acquire by continuing to shrink the national supply.

Many pharmaceutical companies had already backed away from selling the lethal chemicals after Oklahoma authorities botched a lethal injection last April, causing the inmate to die of a heart attack.

The use of lethal injections is also facing scrutiny in court. The Supreme Court decided in January that it would review Oklahoma’s lethal injection procedures, after similiar problems also arose in Ohio and Arizona.

The pharmacist group’s policy is in line with the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Board of Anesthesiology.