Pharmacists point to public health risks posed by California's proposed lethal injection protocol

Dr Philip D. Hansten, Dr Leonard L. Edloe, Dr Randy P. Juhl, and Dr William E. Fassett - August 2017

On August 14, 2017, a group of pharmacists submitted a public comment to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), raising “grave concerns with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDRC)’s recent changes to its lethal injection regulations.”

The pharmacists note that “[a]lthough as a group we take no position on capital punishment, we are deeply worried that the state of California’s proposed procurement of execution drugs will endanger public health, violate the law, and damage the reputation of the pharmacy profession.”

They write, “We have researched the key providers of ingredients for medications in the US, and have found that neither sodium thiopental nor pentobarbital active ingredients are available for purchase via these providers. It appears from our research that there are no legitimate supplies of either medicine available to the CDRC. We are deeply concerned that any pharmacist who agrees to compound execution drugs for the CDRC will do so using ingredients procured on the black market, in the process bringing substandard, counterfeit or contaminated products into the US medicine supply chain.”

Read more from the pharmacists' comment