TEXAS (USA): LETHAL INJECTION COSTS INCREASING
February 24, 2012: The switch to Pentobarbital has driven up the cost of capital punishment in Texas.
A year ago, the European supplier of sodium thiopental, bowing to pressure from death penalty opponents, stopped making it. When no other vendor could be found, the drug was replaced by pentobarbital as 1 of the 3 used in the lethal injection process. With sodium thiopental, Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials said the cost of lethal injection cocktail was $83.35.
It is now $1286.86, with the higher cost primarily due to pentobarbital, officials said.
The other drugs are pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. "Our responsibility is to carry out carry out the executions and when sodium thiopental was no longer available, we had to find another drug with similar properties and this is it," agency spokeswoman Michelle Lyons said Friday. "And it's more expensive."
The increase in drug cost first was reported by the Austin American-Statesman. "In the grand scheme of things, it's a very small amount when compared with our entire budget," Lyons said. The department's budget for 2012 is just over $3 billion.
Prison officials have declined to identify the state's drug supplier and the specific amount for each drug and are awaiting an opinion from the Texas attorney general on whether they can keep that information confidential. (Source: Associated Press, 24/02/2012)