Should prison officials have to reveal the names of the companies that supply their execution drugs? In Texas, the answer is no.
State officials “say the compounding pharmacy providing the drug should remain secret in order to protect it from threats of violence,” according to a story by Associated Press reporter Nomaan Merchant. “Lawyers for death row inmates say they need its name to verify the drugs’ potency and protect inmates from cruel and unusual punishment.”
Similar legal fights are happening in other death penalty states, including Oklahoma and Missouri.
“Death penalty states have been scrambling to find new sources of drugs after several drugmakers, including many based in Europe, refused to sell drugs for use in lethal injections,” Merchant wrote. “That’s led several states to compounding pharmacies, which are not as heavily regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as more conventional pharmacies.”
Merchant asked Texas law enforcement officials to tell him what threats execution drug suppliers were facing, but they declined to say.
I’m not sure if North Carolina – where I live – has ever released the name of the drug company or companies it has used. I’ll have to find out. Do you know what the law is your state? Is that information public record?
On a related note, I visited North Carolina’s death row a few years ago with one of my colleagues, David Crabtree. He interviewed a death row inmate, and I took pictures inside the cells and the death chamber.