Secret source of Missouri’s execution drug sparks concerns

It’s no secret that pentobarbital, Missouri’s new execution drug, is an effective killer. What is secret is the name of the compounding pharmacy that will supply pentobarbital as Missouri’s lethal injection agent.

That secrecy, along with a growing concern about the unregulated nature of such pharmacies, could propel the state into a protracted legal fight before it can carry out its first execution since early 2011, set for Nov. 20.

A similar situation in Georgia over the summer prompted a stay of execution after a judge found that putting an inmate to death with secretly compounded pentobarbital raised crucial constitutional questions.

Compounding pharmacies, which are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are facing increased scrutiny over safety and effectiveness.

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