Now in Legal Rebels:
Posted Aug 20, 2013 11:15 am CDT
The drug that caused the death of Michael Jackson will be used in Missouri executions after action by the state supreme court last week.
The drug is propofol, used as a sleep aid by Jackson before his death in 2009. The state will become the first to use propofol in executions, the Associated Press and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report. The court cleared the way for use of the drug when it set execution dates for two death-row inmates. The court had previously refused to set the dates because of a pending legal challenge.
Missouri is one of several states scrambling to find execution drugs that have been in short supply as a result of drug manufacturers’ decisions and court rulings, the New York Times reports. Makers of two drugs used in three-drug execution cocktails—pancuronium bromide and pentobarbital—have refused to supply them to corrections departments. Meanwhile, a federal judge ruled that another ingredient, sodium thiopental, could not be imported into the country because it had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Some states are ordering execution drugs from unregulated compounding pharmacies, while others have announced they are searching for a solution to the drug shortage. Missouri is also likely to face the same quandary. It has only three quantities of propofol in its stockpile, and the maker of that drug also says it will not sell to corrections departments, AP Says.