After concerns were raised about Missouri’s new execution protocol, using propofol, the drug that killed Michael Jackson, which would endanger the drugs availability for surgeries, Governor Jay Nixon ordered the Department of Corrections to revise the protocol to use a different drug.  The state subsequently returned the propofol order to a Louisiana supplier.  Their new protocol could be worse.

Experts say that the protocol, which hides the source of the drug that will now be used, could result in substandard drugs.  The state plans to use a compounding pharmacy to produce the drug, but compounding pharmacies are notoriously unregulated.  The Missouri Board of Pharmacy recently discovered that 1 in 5 compounding pharmacies do substandard work.

Randy Juhl, the former dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy, questioned whether the statute that regulates compounding pharmacies even allows them to legally provide drugs for an execution.  The statute requires that a prescription be issued for a medical purpose.  John Simon, a constitutional lawyer representing death row inmate Joseph Paul Franklin, said he is concerned that the drug could cause Franklin “a lengthy, excruciating death,” which violates the U.S. Constitution.

“Criminal penalties aren’t intended to drag us down to the level of the worst offenders,” Simon said.

A recent execution by Florida, with drugs from a compounding pharmacy, took twice as long as it should have to kill William Happ.


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