A muckraking New Orleans site called The Lens reports that Louisiana officials acquired hydromorphone from a hospital earlier this year without disclosing that they planned to use the drug to execute an inmate. A board member at the hospital says the institution would not have supplied the drug if its intended use had been made known, and two United States death penalty experts say this is the first time they’ve heard of a lethal injection drug being acquired from such a source.
The execution of the inmate who the drug was meant to be used on—Christopher Sepulvado, who was convicted of brutally killing his six-year-old stepson—has been postponed, though not apparently because of any issue with the hydromorphone.
The piece suggests that the state’s actions may have violated rules about drug transactions:
Properly permitted hospital pharmacies like the one at Lake Charles Memorial can legally supply medications to other pharmacies, as long as the drugs are for a hospital patient, according to Malcolm Broussard, executive director of the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy.
Seems like it would be tough to argue that drugs meant to kill someone could be said to be acquired for a “patient.” But, caveat:
Broussard said he didn’t know enough about this particular transaction to comment on it.
Read the whole piece, which puts Louisiana’s secretive actions in the context of the larger national controversy over lethal injection drugs, here.