Lethal Injection Drug Shortage May Get Worse

A shortage of lethal injection drugs could get much worse and force states to consider other methods of execution, from nitrogen gas to firing squads.

Two major pharmacy groups recently warned their members not to participate in executions due to ethical and liability concerns. The announcements come as pharmaceutical manufacturers have over the past few years prohibited states from using their medications for lethal injections.

Some states looked to pharmacies to make up the shortfall from manufacturers. States such as Texas used compounding pharmacies, which make drugs per patient, to get the three-drug cocktail used to put an inmate to sleep and then stop their heart.

However, last week the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists called for its members to stop compounding drugs for executions, citing liability concerns. On Monday, the American Pharmacists Association issued a similar warning to its more than 62,000 members, noting it wasn’t ethical for pharmacists to be involved in executions.