On Tuesday, the department announced that it had chosen a new execution drug: pentobarbital. But the state also made a change that will end up making it harder, if not impossible, to know where the drugs come from.
On Tuesday, the Missouri Department of Corrections announced that it had selected a new drug for upcoming executions: pentobarbital.
The change comes following criticism of the questionable methods Missouri had obtained the drug it had previously planned to use, as well as concern that its use could harm hospitals throughout the U.S. The state had planned to use a common anesthetic named propofol, which has never been used to carry out an execution.
On Friday, Governor Jay Nixon postponed the execution of an inmate that was set for later this month. That execution was going to be carried out using propofol, a common anesthetic that has never been used in a lethal injection before. So why the change in plans?
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has responded to the recent controversy surrounding the execution drug propofol by halting the execution of a Missouri inmate, and asking that a different form of lethal injection be used.
The Missouri Department of Corrections has announced that it will be returning some of its propofol to its supplier, as the company requested almost a year ago.
But questions remain on how the state obtained the drug.
Propofol is a widely-used medical anesthetic, but the Mo. Dept. of Corrections is planning to use it for lethal injection. Missouri's Oct. 23 and Nov. 20 executions would be the first time the drug has ever been used for capital punishment.
Updated at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 9, to correct errors in our interview.
In the next two months, the state of Missouri plans to use the drug propofol to perform two executions, despite opposition from the European Union, the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Governor Jay Nixon said Missouri will be moving forward with two executions later this year, in spite of objections from the American Civil Liberties Union and the European Union.
The executions could have a very real impact on hospitals throughout the United States, as the European Union considers possible export limits of the drug as part of its anti-capital punishment policies. Most propofol comes from Europe, where its leading manufacturer only wants it used for medical purposes.
A manufacturer of the anesthetic blamed for Michael Jackson's overdose death says it won't allow the drug to be sold for use in executions.
Drug maker Fresenius Kabi USA is one of two domestic suppliers of propofol, which has been singled out as a lethal injection alternative amid a drug shortage that's forced several states to revise their execution protocols. Missouri this year said it would become the first state to use propofol as an execution drug.