Arizona May Have Even Harder Time Getting Execution Drugs

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Thursday, April 2, 2015 - 8:59am
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2015 - 9:00am
(Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Corrections)
Arizona had to use a different drug cocktail in the July execution of Joseph Wood that took more than two hours.

The American Pharmacy Association has voted to discourage its members from dispensing drugs to be used in executions. The resolution was adopted at the trade association’s conference earlier this week, but is not legally binding.

The resolution says executions are contrary to the role of pharmacists as healthcare providers. States are having a harder time getting medications traditionally used in executions, because pharmaceutical companies don’t want to be associated with the activity. Arizona had to use a different drug cocktail in a July execution that took more than two hours. Experts say an execution usually takes 10 minutes.

“This is part of a recognition by the entire medical community that participation in executions is simply against their interests,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

In March, the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists released a statement discouraging its members from preparing or dispensing medications for executions.

The Arizona Department of Corrections refused to comment. Currently, the state doesn’t have any execution warrants.


Since 1993, 35 Arizona inmates have been executed by lethal injection.  Here are the drugs used in the 14 executions since 2010.

(Source: Federal Public Defender District of Arizona)

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