The American Pharmacists Association Weighs in on Participation in Executions

Monday, March 30, 2015
By Chris E. Brown, J.D., The Health Law Firm

Here's a controversial topic to consider:

During the annual meeting of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) on March 30, 2015, the group voted to discourage its members from participating in lethal injection style executions. While this position is not legally binding, it does hold the same ethical sway as a policy announcement by the American Medical Association does for doctors.

What The Stance Means.

According to National Public Radio, the APhA believes participating in executions is fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as health care providers.

This policy could make it difficult for death penalty states, such as Florida and Texas, that have been looking for made-to-order execution drugs from compounding pharmacies as the answer to an execution drug shortage. Due to pressure from death penalty opponents and the medical complications in recent executions, some compounding pharmacies have stopped providing drugs to states.

Official Statement from the APhA.

In a statement, the APhA's CEO said: "Pharmacists are health care providers and pharmacist participation in executions conflicts with the profession's role on the patient health care team. This new policy aligns APhA with the execution policies of other major health care associations including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Associations and the American Board of Anesthesiology.

Compounding pharmacies that are inclined to provide made-to-order execution drugs may find themselves in a precarious position. Traditionally, manufactured medications provided to state correctional systems required specific protocols. Certain dosages of drugs were administered at certain times.  With compounded drugs, those protocols are often not in place. This leads to trial and error, which in an execution setting is inappropriate.  Furthermore, while its has yet to be seen, the dispensing of execution type drugs will lead a pharmacy open to greater public scrutiny, which in turn may lead to greater attention from the Board of Pharmacy and DEA.

To read the entire APhA press release, click here.


As a pharmacist, what do you think of the new APhA policy? Do you think participating in the production of execution drugs is contrary to your role as a health care provider? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Pharmacies and Pharmacists.

The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists and pharmacies in DEA, DOH and FDA investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, administrative hearings, inspections and audits. The firm’s attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at


"APhaA House of Delegates Adopts Policy Discouraging Pharmacist Participation in Execution." American Pharmacists Association. (March 30, 2015). From:

Peralta, Eyder. "Pharmacists Group Votes to Discourage Members From Providing Execution Drugs." NPR. (March 30, 2015). From:

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: American Pharmacists Associations, APhA, pharmacist, pharmacy, compounding pharmacy, role of pharmacist, drug for execution, death penalty drugs, execution drugs, APhA policy, death penalty states, execution drug shortage, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy defense, pharmacist defense, The Health Law Firm reviews
"The Health Law Firm" is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. - The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
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By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law 3/18/2015
Chris E. Brown 3/30/2015

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