Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Another pharmacists' trade group discourages provision of lethal injection drugs

The American Pharmacists' Association has adopted a policy that discourages its members from participating in executions. Here is the news release:

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) House of Delegates today voted to adopt a policy discouraging pharmacist participation in executions. The House of Delegates met as part of the 2015 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition, APhA2015, in San Diego.

The policy states: “The American Pharmacists Association discourages pharmacist participation in executions on the basis that such activities are fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as providers of health care.”

APhA Executive Vice President and CEO, Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA, stated, “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 Association and the American Board of Anesthesiology.

This new policy statement joins two policies previously adopted by the APhA House of Delegates:

Pharmacist Involvement in Execution by Lethal Injection (2004, 1985)

  1. APhA opposes the use of the term "drug" for chemicals when used in lethal injections.
  2. APhA opposes laws and regulations which mandate or prohibit the participation of pharmacists in the process of execution by lethal injection.

This APhA policy aligns with a recently adopted policy of the International Association of Compounding Pharmacies.

On the merits, I agree with these new non-participation policies. In order for them to be fully effective, there may need to be conscience protection for pharmacists should any governments try to force the issue.

Most people should have no trouble recognizing that pharmacists should not be forced to violate their conscience when it comes to execution drugs. Pharmacists should not lack this protection because they are paid for their services and the drugs they sell. Yet we sometimes hear that people operating for-profit businesses should not have conscience protection.  I hope that people who see the value of conscience protection when it comes to execution drugs can also see the value of conscience protection when it comes to assisted-suicide drugs and abortifacient drugs. 


Walsh, Kevin | Permalink