Medical community's united stand against executions could usher in alternative methods

IndustriesAssociated Press

The medical community has become united in its opposition to playing any role in capital punishment killings.

People on both sides of the issue said Tuesday the recent stance by doctors, pharmacists and others could make it increasingly difficult for corrections departments to obtain the already scarce drugs for lethal injections. It also could prompt more death-penalty states to return to previously shunned methods like firing squads, gas chambers and electric chairs.

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The comments come a day after the American Pharmacists Association adopted a resolution discouraging its 62,000 members from participating in executions.

The new policy isn't legally binding, but it likely will decrease the number of businesses willing to sell such drugs to prison departments.

Officials in death penalty states Texas and Oklahoma declined to comment on the decision.