On Thursday, judge Gail Tusan of Fulton County superior court issued a ruling blocking the execution of Warren Hill on the grounds that the state of Georgia was denying Hill's defence team crucial information on the nature of the drugs to be used in his execution.
States that use lethal injection for executions have found it increasingly difficult to obtain the drugs, as the result of a growing international boycott on the pharmaceuticals used in executions. To get around this problem the state of Georgia has passed a law making the drugs used in lethal injections "state secrets" and has seemingly had the required drug made at a compounding pharmacy in another state.
In an affidavit, expert witness Dr Larry Sasich, a consultant pharmacist specialising in drug safety and efficacy told the court that:
"Georgia's likely use of a compounding pharmacist to concoct pentobarbital for the Hill execution presented the prisoner with substantial risk that the drugs would not work effectively."
Dr. Sasich went on characterize compounding pharmacies as
""substandard drug industry" that operated in a "grey market" largely exempt from the approval process and rigorous monitoring to which drug manufacturers must submit. The product from such pharmacies was liable to be unpredictable and potentially unsafe, with a level of sterility below that of federal rules."
It seems to me, that there's another story here, beyond great lengths the State of Georgia is going to to execute a man who has been declared intellectually disabled by a panel of seven Doctors (which should be story enough). If compounding pharmacies are really that substandard, why are they making drugs for anybody?