Ga. execution drugs to expire
by Kate Brumback
Associated Press Writer
February 19, 2013 01:04 AM | 1141 views | 2 2 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — Georgia’s supply of the single drug it uses to perform executions is set to expire next month, and state officials haven’t said whether they’ve found a way to get more of the powerful sedative that is in relatively short supply.

The state has 17 vials of pentobarbital, which is enough for six lethal injections, corrections officials said. Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan did not respond to questions about what the state might be doing to obtain more pentobarbital, but she said the state doesn’t intend to change its execution method.

Georgia changed its execution protocol from a three-drug combination to a single-drug method using pentobarbital in July. It had been using pentobarbital to sedate inmates before injecting pancuronium bromide to paralyze them and then potassium chloride to stop their hearts.

The state has two executions scheduled this week. Warren Lee Hill is set to be executed Tuesday evening and Andrew Allen Cook is set to be put to death Thursday evening. The state doesn’t currently have any executions set, and it’s unlikely any others will be scheduled before the state’s pentobarbital expires March 1, Hogan said.

A number of states have grappled with difficulties securing drugs for executions in recent years as manufacturers of the drugs, which generally have other medical purposes, said they didn’t want their drugs used for executions.

Georgia began using pentobarbital as part of its three-drug combination in 2011 after another drug, sodium thiopental, became unavailable when its European supplier bowed to pressure from death penalty opponents and stopped making it. But now pentobarbital appears to be in relatively short supply as well.

Denmark-based Lundbeck Inc., the only U.S.-licensed maker of pentobarbital, sold the product to another firm in 2011. Lundbeck said a distribution system meant to keep the drug out of the hands of prisons would remain in place after Lake Forest, Ill.-based Akorn Inc. acquired it.

“It’s a problem for states,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. “They keep having to switch drugs when the supply gets difficult, so they keep having to write different protocols and get them approved.”

But it’s very difficult to tell how much pentobarbital is out there and available to states for executions or what other options states are considering, because corrections officials aren’t always forthcoming with details about their execution method plans, Dieter said.

There has been some indication that some states may turn to compounding pharmacies to get pentobarbital. Such pharmacies custom-mix solutions, creams and other medications in doses or forms that generally aren’t commercially available.

But that could have additional challenges. Ohio, which also uses a single dose of pentobarbital, has enough pentobarbital to execute four inmates, but has nine executions scheduled after that. The state’s prisons agency indicated last week that it wants a law to protect compounding pharmacies that might mix execution drugs. Currently, Ohio state law doesn’t allow compounding pharmacies to mix drugs if they’re commercially available.

Repeated changes of execution drugs or methods also opens states to legal challenges that can delay executions, as lawyers for death row inmates use various arguments to question whether the new methods or drugs are humane or whether their use is legal.
Comments
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VFP42
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February 19, 2013
I hereby suggest that we replace crash test dummies and crash test corpses with LIVE death row prisoners! Crash them until they're dead. Why not? We are killing them, and we routinely kill people with cars, so here's a great money saver. Think about it.. We could get our money back on these death row prisoners if Ford GM and Chevy bid on them. We could probably get a few million per death row inmate if we sell them as crash test "dummies" (they ARE dumb, after all). Shoot we could even put them up on eBay! And if the car sellers won't bite, the gun sellers sure will! The NRA would buy and sell these people for sure!
Richard678
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February 19, 2013
Go back to the firing squad. Televised
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