Supreme Court Decision Aside, Lethal Injection Looks Increasingly Unsustainable

Filling an order for a lethal drug cocktail has been getting harder for quite some time. Four years ago companies in the European Union stopped shipping pharmaceuticals to the U.S. when they would be used for executions, leading to a shortage of sodium thiopental, a once-common general anesthetic. Then there were issues getting pentobarbital—a backup drug that is also a staple in many animal euthanasia mixes.
No matter what the court said, however, it is only going to become harder to obtain drugs for use in executions, largely because the pharmaceutical companies that make them are increasingly refusing to sell them for that purpose.