American Pharmacists Association declares participating in executions violates values

The following is a statement from Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of, an international corporate watchdog organization, on the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) House of Delegates vote Monday declaring that participating in executions violates core values of the pharmacy profession:

“Today, the APhA House of Delegates declared that participating in executions violates core values of the pharmacy profession.  In doing so, pharmacists joined doctors and nurses and other key members of the national health care team in affirming that protection of life and avoidance of harm lie at the heart of any healing profession, including pharmacy.

“What APhA delegates did not do today is vote to abolish the death penalty in the United States. Nor did they vote to end lethal injection as a form of execution—though that may well be the outcome. Instead what they affirmed is that pharmacists are health care professionals and, as such, they are obligated to avoid any and all involvement in executions.

“We would like to express our thanks to the leadership of the APhA and to members of the House of Delegates.  We are especially grateful to outgoing president Matthew Osterhaus, and to the three pharmacists—all giants in their profession—who led the effort that culminated in today’s vote: Leonard Edloe, Bill Fasset, and Phil Hansten.  We would also like to thank our partner organizations, especially Amnesty International, NAACP, the National Council of Churches and Reprieve.

“Our campaign is not over. We plan to continue discussions with state boards of pharmacy - which are empowered to license and de-licence pharmacists - to determine whether or not pharmacists who continue to create and sell drugs for use in executions are violating key requirements for lawful and ethical practice.  Among these rules are (1) that there be a genuine doctor-patient relationship when dispensing drugs and (2) that the pharmacist knows of no harm that is likely to befall the recipient of the drugs.”

SumOfUs, a new organization which seeks to “forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy,” and believes in “the right of ordinary consumers to products that are produced and marketed ethically, sustainably and transparently.” A year ago, SumOfUs sent the president of APhA a letter, co-signed by 31 human rights organizations/religious denominations, asking that APhA take a stand against phar-macists participating in executions. Over 100,000 SumOfUs, CREDO, and MoveOn members signed petitions supporting that call.

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