US pharmacist group moves to block execution drugs

Hypodermic needle filled from vial
Tek Image | Science Photo Library | Getty Images

A national pharmacists' group has adopted a policy discouraging its members from providing death-penalty drugs.

The American Pharmacists Association's new policy could make it tough for death penalty states, like Texas, that have been looking at made-to-order execution drugs from compounding pharmacies as the answer to an execution drug shortage.

The association's governing body approved the policy Monday at a meeting in San Diego.

Watch more: UnitedHealth's $12.8B deal

The group lacks the legal authority to bar compounding pharmacies from selling the drugs. But its policies set the ethical standards followed by pharmacists, just as the American Medical Association does for doctors.

Prison departments have had to buy made-to-order execution drugs from compounding pharmacies in recent years. That's because the pharmaceutical companies they used to buy from have refused to sell lethal-injection drugs after coming under pressure from death penalty opponents.