Tell American Pharmacists to Stop Participating in Executions

  • by: Susan V
  • target: American Pharmacist Association

The painfully slow execution of an Ohio man has sparked a new wave of controversy and outrage over the use of lethal injection. And some say it’s now up to the American Pharmacist Association to put an end to this cruel practice.

Dennis McGuire's death is said to be the longest execution since this barbaric practice was reinstated in Ohio 15 years ago. In his case a new, never-before-used mixed of drugs left him choking and gasping for air for 25 minutes as his adult children watched in horror.

Indiana activist Kelsey Kauffman was one of those outraged by the details of McGuire’s cruel death. When she learned that, unlike other medical professionals, pharmacists are not banned from participation in executions, she decided they should be. The American Board of Anesthesiology, for example, specifically threatens revocation of medical certification of any member who participates in an execution.

But even though the APhA has a code of ethics similar to ABA’s, it hasn’t specifically addressed the issue of executions. Kauffman and others believe it’s time it did.

Tell the American Pharmacist Association to prohibit its members from participating in executions.

We, the undersigned, join Kauffman’s plea to end pharmacists' participation in executions.

What appears to be the most humane method of execution is really not the case, and many medical professionals are now speaking out against it, reports ThinkProgress, including the three-drug cocktail’s original developer, Dr. Jay Chapman

Kauffman explains that execution participation by the APhA was not much of an issue until recently, after the European Commission, citing, ethical opposition to the death penalty, put restrictions on the export of drugs being used in U.S. executions.

In response to Europe’s new ethical stand, U.S. states began looking to compounding pharmacies for alternative lethal concoctions that some feel are dangerous because these facilities are not FDA-regulated. Even worse, some states are keeping the formulations and the source of these lethal cocktails a secret.

Kauffman says she believes the APhA to be a willing partner in this action, and she has a lot of support backing her, including Amnesty International, the United Methodist Church, Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP.

Hopefully the APhA will get on board without further delay. We request that the organization and its members say no to lethal injection and no to the death penalty - for good.

Thanks for your time.

Update #22 years ago
Progress! Federal District Court Judge Gregory Frost just ordered a temporary moratorium on executions in Ohio over legal issues related to lethal injections. Please continue to sign and protest this cruel practice!
Update #12 years ago
On April 29th, Clayton Lockett of Oklahoma suffered a botched execution after being injected with an untested combination of three lethal injection chemicals. Instead of dying peacefully, he suffered for over half an hour before finally dying of a heart attack. This latest scandal just underscores the need for the APhA to adopt a code of ethics to end this practice once and for all. Please continue signing and sharing this petition so that no one else has to suffer and die in this manner!
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