Back in 2010, the pharmaceutical giant Hospira Inc. asked Ohio to not use its drug, the anesthetic sodium thiopental, in executions. Ohio, like other states, refused, so Hospira stopped making the drug.
Then Ohio, like other states, switched to a new anesthetic called pentobarbital. Its manufacturer, Lundbeck, also asked Ohio to not use it in executions. Again, Ohio, like other states, refused. Lundbeck is now actively taking steps to prevent future batches of this drug from getting into the hands of executioners. So, with 12 executions scheduled between now and May 2013, Ohio is facing yet another execution drug shortage.
What now? Ohio is considering switching drugs again. Its choices include a drug that helped kill Michael Jackson (propofol), or a combination of drugs that could cause convulsions or vomiting (midazolam and hydromorphone). (No word on whether Ohio might consider even cheaper alternatives.)