Fortunately, Ohio has enough pentobarbital left for the murder of Kenneth Smith on July 19.
But after that?
This business of killing people with the aid of the pharmaceutical industry is getting tricky.
I mean, there are all those problems with the three-drug sequence (see here, for instance). Then, at least in Ohio, there's the continuing issue of even being able to insert the needles for the IV lines (see here).
So we went to one drug, thiopental sodium. Except Hospira stopped making thiopental. And then Dream Pharma's operation exporting thiopental (operated out of the the back of the Elgone Driving Academy in London) hit a snag when DOJ started confiscating the smuggled drugs. So the states, those like Ohio now using a single drug and those still killing with a sequence of three, began switching from thiopental to pentobarbital (see here, for instance). But now Lundebek, the Danish company that makes pentobarbital, has figured out what it thinks is a way to ensure that no more of it will end up in the hands of the executioners.
Here's the story, from WLWT in Cincinnati.
Lundbeck Inc. chief executive Ulf Wiinberg said Friday that his company is demanding that U.S. distributors and states not let pentobarbital -- a sedative with a number of uses -- be used as a lethal injection drug.
"Lundbeck will have to approve each order and everyone buying the product must sign a paper stating they will not sell it on to prisons," Winberg said. "We are confident that our new distribution program will play a substantial role in restricting prisons' access."
- Attaching sticks of dynamite to the body and then lighting them? There's a gruesomeness (and a suggestion of terrorism) to that at odds with the desire to sanitize the process.
- Gunshot to the back of the head? China's abandoning it as a method. And it sounds just a bit too much like a mobster execution. Besides, there's all that spattered brain and bone and blood.
- Overdose with drugs of abuse like heroin or even marijuana? Too kind. And the DEA would object. Besides, we've insisted for so long that they have no proper use it'd be hard to change gears.
- Inhale carbon monoxide through a face mask? Too much like what Kevorkian designed.