Compounding Pharmacy

Posted in Politics, The Death Penalty by chamblee54 on July 14, 2013








The Associated Press has obtained E-mails from the state of Georgia about copping execution drugs. These substances are intended for use on Warren Hill, and others to follow. “Georgia Department of Corrections emails obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request make it clear that the state is using a compounding pharmacy to mix a doctor-prescribed dose of pentobarbital for Hill. The names of the sender and recipient of the emails are redacted, but it is clear from an email signature that one person is a corrections employee and the other person appears to be a doctor.”

“I spoke with the compounding pharmacist earlier today and I wanted to relay some instructions he gave regarding the prescription,” the corrections employee wrote in an email dated Monday. “Along with the patient name, he also needs their birthday and social security number. I will be happy to forward this information along to you when you are preparing to write the prescription.” Another email from Tuesday provides the relevant information for Hill and says the Department will need six 50-milliliter syringes of pentobarbital.

It is not known who the Doctor, or the Pharmacy, is. … “a Georgia state law says that medical professionals cannot have their licenses challenged or suspended for participating in a court-ordered execution. It is not clear what doctor is writing the prescription for the pentobarbital for Hill’s execution, and it’s not clear what pharmacy or pharmacist will mix it. A law passed by the Georgia Legislature classifies the name of any person or entity who participates in an execution as a “confidential state secret,” off-limits for release to the public. That includes any company that “manufactures, supplies, compounds, or prescribes the drugs.”

PG had never heard of a compounding pharmacy until last week. A google search shows quite a few in the Atlanta area. Here is what one such pharmacy says. “Pharmacists have been preparing drugs for patients long before manufacturing came into existence. This process is simply called “compounding.” Compounding is “the extemporaneous preparation of a special medication for a patient’s unique condition pursuant to a doctor’s specific formulated order (prescription).” The pharmacist’s ability to make a “Tailor-made” prescription affords the physician the ability to prescribe a medication better targeted, in his/her opinion, to a patient’s specific need. Contrary to what is sometimes assumed, each individual patient is different in his/her biological and chemical makeup. In the complex world of body chemistry we are all a bit different. Compounding affords the physician/pharmacist the ability to provide exceptional and very specific medicine that is more suitable and individualized for a given patients unique condition.

There are many reasons your doctor may provide you with a compounded prescription. 1- A dosage form (tablet vs. capsule vs. liquid) may be required or preferred by a patient where it may not exist. The pharmacist can change this dosage form. 2- A Particular medication strength may not be made by the manufacturer but can be provided thru the compounding process. 3- Some products have fillers or binders (inert ingredients) that cause allergic reactions to some patients. Compounding with the raw drug allows the pharmacist to NOT use those particular allergic causing materials. 4- Flavoring medications “to taste” for children and adults is a common practice.”

Compounding pharmacies have “come under scrutiny after a deadly meningitis outbreak was linked to contaminated injections made by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. The FDA considers compounding pharmacy products unapproved drugs and does not verify their safety or effectiveness.” It is not known if this applies to executions.

In a rare display of respect for state’s rights, the FDA usually does not deal with drugs used for executions. It is not known whether the reputed pentobarbital will be tested for purity before it is used to poison Warren Hill. It is a secret drug, prescribed by a secret doctor, from a secret compounding pharmacy. Rumors that the secret pharmacy will supply the state with “six 50-milliliter syringes of” Drano cannot be confirmed or denied.

UPDATE On Monday, July 15, we got this story: Fulton judge Gail Tusan stays Warren Hill’s execution. A hearing was scheduled for Thursday, July 18. At the hearing, it was learned that “the prison paid 5-thousand dollars for 6 (50ML) syringes of execution drug, Pentobarbital.” Judge Tusan granted a stay of execution for Warren Hill. “Judge Tusan: the Georgia law “unconstitutionally limits” #WarrenHill’s access to courts and his Eighth Amendment rights.” The state is expected to appeal the decision. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.









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  1. […] be excused. Chamblee54 has written about lethal injection problems one, two, three, four, five, six, seven times. In 2007, the New York Times published The Needle and the Damage Done, which discusses […]

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