March 30, 2015 / 11:35 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. pharmacists group asks members not to provide execution drugs

(Reuters) - The largest association of U.S. pharmacists approved a measure on Monday at its annual meeting in California calling on members to avoid participating in executions, saying it violates a core value of the profession, an official said.

The move by the American Pharmacists Association, which has about 62,000 members, sets out ethical standards for the profession but has no authority to halt the activities of the main suppliers of drugs for executions, lightly regulated compounding pharmacies that can mix chemicals.

U.S. states have been struggling to obtain drugs for executions. Many pharmaceutical firms, mostly in Europe, have imposed sales bans because they object to having medications made for other purposes used in lethal injections.

As a result, prison systems that used to buy drugs directly from companies have been seeking the help of pharmacists to acquire the chemicals needed for lethal injections.

Lawyers for death row inmates argue drugs from compounding pharmacies can lack purity and potency and cause undue suffering, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Eric Beech

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