Texas is paying four times more for its execution drugs from a new supplier, putting it in line with a local consumer rate but well below the cost in at least one other death penalty state.And wouldn't you, if you were buying dope from drug dealers on the down low? Why, the only way you'd give up the name of your supplier is if we threatened you with incarceration.
The prison agency in the nation’s busiest death penalty state paid $13,500 for its most recent batch of pentobarbital at a cost of $1,500 per vial, compared to $350 per dose spent last year, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press under an open records request.
The extra cost comes after the state’s previous supplier refused to provide more of the powerful sedative last year, claiming it had become a target of execution opponents. Prison officials have since found a new compound pharmacy for pentobarbital, and have waged a successful legal battle to keep the business’ name secret.
Texas responded by switching to pentobarbital, but Denmark-based Lundbeck Inc., the drug’s only U.S.-licensed maker, bowed to pressure from death penalty opponents and announced its medication was off-limits for capital punishment.Makes sense, doesn't it? We don't really like drug dealers in the U.S.
The Texas prison agency then opted to purchase pentobarbital from The Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy until the Houston-area company refused to provide more drugs in October. The owner wrote a letter to the agency accusing state officials of placing him “in the middle of a firestorm” of hate mail and potential litigation when his company’s name became public.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has supported the prison agency’s refusal to publicly name its new supplier, citing a “threat assessment” signed by Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw that says pharmacies selling execution drugs face “a substantial threat of physical harm.”
The agency’s higher cost does not appear extraordinary. A survey of nearly two dozen pharmacies in the Houston area shows Nembutal, the brand name for pentobarbital, sells for about $1,500.A bargain! And don't you love the way some dealers are intruding on other dealers' turf? I can see a real gang war brewing between compounding pharmacies: nerds in white lab coats on one side versus nerds in white lab coats on the other.
The cost is a bargain compared to Missouri, which also uses pentobarbital for executions. Records earlier this year showed state officials paid as much as $8,000 per dose.
At least 10 inmates have execution dates in the coming months, including two in September, which means Texas’ latest batch of pentobarbital is set to run out by the end of the year. The agency has confirmed it will attempt to purchase more drugs.Like any good addict would. The first step in treating your addiction, Texas (and any other junkie state scrambling to replenish its stash) is to admit you have a problem. And it doesn't sound like that's happening anytime soon in Texas.
UPDATE: Great expose in today's (8/18/14) NYT on Arizona's lethal injections procedures and how they are, literally, "just making shit up as they go along."