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    To the compounder of the Oklahoma execution drug: Come out of the shadows

    David StanleyDavid StanleyThe letter at the top of the day’s mail pile immediately attracted my attention.The handwriting on the envelope looked almost childlike, and the return address was a state prison.

    The inmate wanted to know about the use and potential side effects of lorazepam, risperidone, and benztropine. His letter, written at about a fourth-grade level, made it clear that he thought these medications were harmful. Denied answers by the people giving him the drugs, he probably got the store's address from the phone book and wrote to us for information.

    “You didn't answer it, did you?” was the immediate reaction of my then, soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend.

    Of course, I answered it. Providing information is the centerpiece of modern pharmacy, after all, and I don't remember any principle limiting our professional obligations only to good people, or only to those we approve of.

    We all have a right to know what is being put into our bodies. At least, that is what I thought at the time.

    David Stanley, RPh
    David Stanley is a pharmacy owner, blogger, and professional writer in northern California. Contact him at [email protected]


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    • Anonymous
      "I can't help but feel that when a pharmacist gives up his white lab coat for the anonymity of an executioner's black hood, the profession has taken a giant step backward." Comments like this one are the very reason pharmacists should remain anonymous. Besides, you're totally neglecting HIPAA obligations of PRIVACY.
    • BlaiseLachowicz
      Mr. David Stanley pharmacy owner. If you are true to your article then you must post a sign in your pharmacy window that You help with killing babies(after all you are proud to provide the morning after pill)
    • Anonymous
      David Stanley- If I am not mistaking, we have in pharmacy what is known as a HIPPA law that you are asking another pharmacist to break. Do you know that all three meds actually were mixed by one Pharmacy? With an inmate who is in for the death penalty, what percentage of taxpayers want to subsidize these inmates? You need to be able, in Pharmacy, to keep your religious beliefs out of the workplace.
    • Anonymous
      A very well written and thought-provoking editorial. I have often wondered about this issue, and what I would do if asked to assist in an execution. I have my doubts on the deterrent effect of having capital punishment in this country, and feel certain our society has executed non-guilty and mentally ill individuals in our lust for revenge. I try to avoid hypocrisy in my bioethical soul-searching. There is, for me, an unavoidable darkness that comes from filling the drug orders for a medical abortion and providing post-operative counseling. There is also anger that somehow, and somewhere, some difficulty in obtaining routine or emergency contraception occurred. In my heart, I feel that death row inmate deserves the same treatment as any other person receiving a drug. He or she should know the name, the mechanism of action, and what to expect (besides death). I want the person administering the drugs to be properly trained in starting an IV line, and know the medications were properly prepared. If a physician is not available, unwilling, or insufficiently trained to make the product selection, then there should be a pharmacist available to assist in the process. I do not like sadistic rapists and murderers anymore than I like pit bulls. When it comes time to put either one to death, it should be done quickly and humanely. If we are going to call ourselves a Judeo-Christian society, then we should exemplify our teachings and resist the urge to behave like Nazis.
    • Anonymous
      Pretty much agree with the comments here wrt to legal source of proper pharmaceutcals and compounding etc. but with our tendency in America to want to persecute people with diametrically opposing views I would not expect/want the source to identify themselves. That would pretty much put themselves out of business and on the run. Personally I have no problem with the use of these medications for this purpose but that is my opinion only and many others would diasgree. When I read the many horror stories of what these people did I don't feel any empathy or sympathy for most of the self admitted violent killers /rapists that get the death penalty. We all hold on to the one outlyer to support this cause of no death penalty but when you have admitted serial rapists and violent killers in a state with the death penalty... well they clearly knew what they were doing had no sympathy or empathy for the victims, nor did they care for the suffering, pain and torture they put them through. quit quo pro.
    • Anonymous
      Very interesting editorial, but I agree with the above comment about the medications used being divulged, but not necessarily the source(s). It made me think about things, such as: If I believe that since the state that empowers me to practice has deemed it 'Legal' that this convicted felon be put to death, and that I can competently provide the product(s) needed, then that is OK. My identity should be shielded because myself or my family could be harassed or harmed by people who oppose the death penalty. However- If my country/state also say that it is 'legal' for the PLAN-B products to be dispenses/sold by my pharmacy, then how can I say that I am uncomfortable with that situation? (and i am) Again, this editorial made me think, but I am still unsure...
    • Anonymous
      My opinion is that the MEDICATIONS used should be divulged but not necessarily the sources.