In May of 2015, Nebraska’s Unicameral repealed the death penalty. A referendum campaign gathered enough signatures so the issue will be decided once and for all by state residents this November when they head to the polls. There is another twist to the story that may impact lethal injection executions across the country.
The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced last week they will no longer allow their drugs to be used for lethal injection. Pfizer was the last remaining company that supplied these drugs on an open market. Death penalty expert Rick Halperin says Pfizer is the world’s leading producer of drugs used in executions so this is a major event in the ongoing effort in this country to end the death penalty.
Halperin says,” It is going to force states that do execute with some degree of regularity to either use compound pharmacies to get drugs or consider changing the method of lethal injection to another method.”
Halperin says several states have turned to compound pharmacies to get their supply of execution drugs but the results have not been good. He says, “I don’t think the cost would be prohibitive. Some states have done this with disastrous results – Ohio and Oklahoma to name just two. On a cost issue I don’t think it is going to be a prohibitive factor.”