Lethal Injection
8:11 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Missouri Has A New Execution Drug Supplier

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 10:02 am

Although the state's previous drug supplier says it will not supply for the next execution, Missouri says it's found another willing pharmacy.

On Monday, the Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma reached a settlement with an inmate who had sued the pharmacy. Although the terms were confidential, the pharmacy agreed to not sell to Missouri for its upcoming execution.

In a court filing Wednesday evening, the state said inmate Michael Taylor was trying to cut off the supply of the state's execution drug.

"But Taylor has failed," assistant Attorney General Michael Spillane wrote. "[We] do not admit nor deny the pharmacy Taylor threatened, then sued, has supplied pentobarbital to Missouri. However, Missouri has now arranged with a pharmacy, that is not the pharmacy Taylor threatened and sued, to supply pentobarbital for Taylor’s execution."

Taylor's lawyers argue changing the supplier this close to the execution would give the courts no time to make a decision on the competency of the new provider.

"Missouri may not take Taylor’s life without due process of law, meaning he has the right to meaningful notice of – and an opportunity to challenge – Missouri’s plan for executing him," his lawyers write. "To introduce a new player now, one week before a scheduled execution in litigation that has been pending for over 18 months, would not afford Taylor or this Court a meaningful opportunity to assess whether that player may constitutionally play a role in ending Taylor’s life."

Drugs that compounding pharmacies make are different from those made by manufacturers. Drug manufacturers are designed for bulk production, and there's more reliability in the quality of the drug. Compounding pharmacies' products vary from batch to batch, and have a higher chance of failing standards than other suppliers. They also aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

"There is no reason to believe that the execution will not, like previous Missouri executions using pentobarbital, be rapid and painless," the state argues in response to filings by Taylor's attorneys.

Taylor is asking U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to stay his execution while the new supplier can be vetted or approved. The inmate is sentenced to death for the abduction, rape and stabbing death of a 15-year-old girl.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel 

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