Bill would hide name of Ohio’s execution drugmaker

From The Columbus Dispatch High-stakes legislation aimed at preventing public disclosure of the source of drugs used in Ohio executions ran into opposition minutes after it was formally unveiled yesterday.

House Bill 663 would protect the identity of individuals and entities that manufacture, compound or supply drugs used for lethal injections. It also would provide anonymity for any physician who participates in the process, as well as members of the prison execution team.

Introduced on Monday by Republican Reps. Jim Buchy of Greenville and Matt Huffman of Lima, the bill was promptly assigned to a House committee and had its first hearing yesterday.

The sponsors said executions in Ohio will be unable to proceed next year unless the General Assembly passes the bill before the end of the current session, on Dec. 31.

“Ohio and most other states have exhausted their options” in obtaining execution drugs from manufacturers, most of them in Europe, Buchy told the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee.

He said the bill would require that information about drugs used in executions be “confidential, privileged and not subject to subpoena, discovery and public-records law.”

That would provide anonymity for small “compounding pharmacies” that make drug combinations specifically for customer requests. Some of the pharmacies are in Franklin County.

Rep. Mike Curtin, D-Marble Cliff, a member of the committee, questioned the consequences of making secret the state’s power of “life and death,” a process he said has been public since Ohio conducted executions by hanging.

“Why should we be rushing in lame-duck session to pull the shroud of secrecy over this issue?” Curtin said.

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