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Texas pharmacist demands return of execution drugs

/ 09:41 AM October 08, 2013

WASHINGTON—A pharmacist which recently provided the state of Texas with barbiturates to use during executions by lethal injection has demanded the return of his stock after being drawn into a legal battle.

Jasper Lovoi, of the Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy, said in a letter released Monday he would never have sold the drugs to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice if he had known that the company’s identity would be published.

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The drugs are at the center of a federal court case involving three death row inmates who have sued the southwestern US state over a change in the source of a lethal injection drug.

In a lawsuit filed last week in Houston, Thomas Whitaker, Perry Williams and Michael Yowell called for a halt to executions until Texas can show “the integrity and legality” of the substances it planned to use.

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The suit alleged the change to the source of the drug added “an unacceptable risk of pain, suffering, and harm” arguing that the pharmacy was not subject to stringent FDA regulations.

The Attorney General’s office later responded by saying the state intended to go forward with the drugs it has purchased for the executions.

However Lovoi is now requesting the return of the barbiturates in question, which had been purchased by Texas in order to boost its dwindling stock of pentobarbital, an anesthetic commonly used to euthanize animals.

Lovoi said he had sold the drugs to Texas on condition of anonymity.

He said in dealings with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice he had been led to believe the sale would be “on the down low.”

“Now that the information has been made public, I find myself in the middle of a firestorm,” he added.

“Had I known that this information would be made public . . . I never would have agreed to provide the drugs to the TDCJ.

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“I must demand that TDCJ immediately return the vials of compounded pentobarbital in exchange for a refund.”

US states that use capital punishment faced a supply problem in 2011 when the United States stopped producing the drug used since the introduction of lethal injections in the 1980s.

Since then, certain states—including Texas, which has executed more than 500 inmates in three decades—turned to pentobarbital.

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TAGS: Execution, Justice, US
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