The federal government has announced it will begin executions again this year using a single drug, pentobarbital, as its lethal injection method.  The source of that pentobarbital is not known, but many assume it will come from a supplier being used by many other states for their lethal injection protocols:  the “compounding pharmacy.”  For details, read “Why the Justice Department’s Plan to Use a Single Drug for Lethal Injections Is Controversial,” written by Joshua Bates and published by TIME on July 29, 2019.

Lethal Injection Methods: The Drugs Are an Issue

Different states choose different formulas for their lethal injection executions.  The Death Penalty Information Project has a nice chart that provides details.

For many, the focus here has been on the drugs themselves and how horrific their use can be — alone, or in tandem with other drugs in the execution “cocktail.”  And that’s a valid concern.

Lethal Injection Methods: The Source of the Drugs Is A Separate Concern

Here’s another one:  the supplier of these lethal injection drugs is not regulated as are the big drug companies.  Compounding pharmacies are becoming more and more popular in this country as a source of the deadly drugs needed for official killings.  Safety guidelines may or may not be followed by compounding pharmacies with horrific consequences.

To learn more about the problem of compounding pharmacies — both for government executions and generally as a source for health care services, as well — watch the informative and terrifying video from HBO – Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver on YouTube (click on the image to view):