Who makes the drugs used in lethal injections? Soon, that will be a secret in Alabama


No company that takes a penny from a government agency should have that transaction kept secret. It doesn’t matter what product or service it is. It should be easy for the public to see that information.


They can keep that information secret if they agree to stop killing people. Seems like a fair compromise.


Are they ashamed at what they do or is it just that they don’t want their suppliers getting any grief? I see one of my neighboring states, Missouri, is having the same problems of getting their supplies of the pink juice.


Given that the process of dying when lethal drugs are administered is so horrifically long and painful, they could do away with all of this secrecy nonsense and get the same effect by just throwing a bunch of stones at the prisoner until dead.

Then they just pick up all the rocks up and put them back in the dirty red box in the corner.

Problem. Solved.


Not the shame option.

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An article in New Scientist a few months back said that the drugs were supplied by European firms, who were no longer willing to supply. So I’m not sure secrecy would help in that regard.
And let’s face it, a humane lethal injection would be a massive heroin shot.


The bill seems to be aimed at rather narrow band of morality.

The companies that:

  • on a conscientious basis refused to supply Alabama with certain drugs because they would likely be used for executions, but…
  • would be willing to supply those drugs if it could be done in secret

I know that corporations in general have a reputation of being soulless, profit-generating, legal fictions, but the pair of conditions for which this law seems tailored are nearly mutually exclusive.

I am opposed to capital punishment for a whole host of reasons, but I continue to be surprised at how squeamish we (in the US) are about the method, given that there remains sufficient (thankfully waning) support for the deed itself (state sponsored killing) to continue.

Why is it less “humane” to put a bullet through a convicted murderer’s brain stem than it is to administer a lethal dose of drugs?

The latter leaves a better looking corpse, but the former is demonstrably superior in the metrics of being painless and instantaneous.

Reminder: I’m not arguing for capital punishment, just calling out a couple of logical inconsistencies that rose to the forefront of my awareness upon reading the article Maggie posted.


States don’t get to have secrets. Don’t even try to rebut it. This an argument and a command.


Why don’t they just make it themselves. I don’t support the death penalty but every time i see this type of news item it strikes me that the obvious answer is make it yourself.


Come on… you knew when you phrased it that way you would get a response :wink:

But I’m not arguing the principle you seem to espouse: “States should not have secrets.”

That’s the way things ought to be.

But states, in fact, do have secrets. And they use the coercive threat of lethal violence, over which they conveniently claim legitimate monopoly, to enforce the maintenance of their secrets.

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And break patent laws?? Come on, killing people is one thing, but violating intellectual property laws is not something even Alabama’s prepared to do.


Because we (as a society) like to imagine that we’re more “civilized” than the people who used to gather in village squares to gawk at the guy losing his head to an executioner’s axe. The hospital-like setting of a lethal injection helps provide that illusion.


I say fine, but the company CEO’s have to wear hoods in public. You know, to preserve the secrecy.

This has played out before, apparently, although I don’t know where it ended:

NYT EDITORIAL: The Executioner’s Hood
Published: August 6, 2007

One truly disturbing example, recounted by Adam Liptak in The Times, involves Missouri, where a doctor was revealed as an unqualified bumbler who admitted having confused the drug dosages in some of the more than 50 executions he had supervised. “It’s not unusual for me to make mistakes,” he said, blaming dyslexia.


Hilarious, in a macabre sort of way.

Even if it’s not factually accurate, the irony is pitch perfect.

Sadly, I would not be surprised to learn that it is factually accurate.

There are too many types of poisons that will kill quickly such as potassium cyanide but these idiots use some Rube Goldberg concoction of drugs to execute someone. That is really stupid. Of course eliminating the death penalty would solve the problem too.

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BAXTER makes the drugs for Lethal Injection! it’s no secret .

I think you’re almost completely right, but with a minor change. I believe its not a conscientious basis, but the negative publicity associated with such an act. I think the thought process is more along the lines of “We have no problems with our drugs being used in executions, but some of our customers (doctors) might. If we could sell our drugs for the purposes of lethal injection without any negative publicity, we can have our cake and eat it, too while maximizing corporate profits.”

They are probably worried that the loss in sales due to the public knowledge of their support of capital punishment could potentially be greater than the profits from those sales. Preventing the negative publicity the can increase profits without risking existing sales channels.


This has never made sense to me either. Once you have the prisoner unconscious, why not inject a massive overdose of some opiate? Or a highly concentrated salt solution? Or any of probably a zillion other compounds? Why the need for these specialized single-source compounds? Maggie, do you know?

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or messier - shot or behead them once unconscious.