Arizona’s admission that its supply of a drug mixture approved for use in the death penalty has dried up can be tied directly to a growing refusal of U.S. and European pharmaceutical companies – including, last month, Pfizer – to be partners in state-sponsored homicide, says the Christian Science Monitor.
The admission came as part of a legal review of the 2014 execution of convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood, who took nearly two hours to die. A sedative used in that execution, midazolam, is no longer available to states, and Arizona officials say they also haven’t been able to procure two others – one that’s designed to stop breathing, the other to stop the heart.
Several Oklahoma corrections officials resigned recently after a grand jury investigation found that some officials acted “flippantly and recklessly” as they attempted to procure the drugs. Several states have been forced to surreptitiously purchase drugs – sometimes using $100 bills so purchases can’t be tracked – from countries such as India. Ohio has more than two dozen convicted killers scheduled to die over the next three years but just over six months before the first scheduled execution since 2014, on Jan. 12, 2017, the state, despite exhaustive efforts, has not secured a supply of lethal-injection drugs for even one execution.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is looking for suppliers, spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told the Columbus Dispatch. The department “continues to seek all legal means to obtain the drugs necessary to carry out court-ordered executions,” she said.