COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio could begin executing inmates with doses of a lethal injection drug prepared by specialized pharmacies under a change in its execution process prompted by difficulties securing the powerful sedative last used by the state.
The state prisons department filed a new execution policy in federal court Friday. It allows compounding pharmacies to provide future supplies of pentobarbital.
The state's last supply expired with the Sept. 25 execution of Harry Mitts, who fatally shot two people, including a suburban Cleveland police officer.
The new policy also establishes an alternative intravenous drug combination if expired pentobarbital is deemed unusable or if new supplies of the drug are unavailable.
A federal public defender says he's reviewing the changes for any impact on federal litigation and future executions.
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Ohio prison officials are keeping their primary lethal injection drug in place despite the state's supply expiring, but they've added a second drug option for executioners to address the shortage.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Friday that pentobarbital will remain Ohio's primary method of administering the death penalty. Spokeswoman JoEllen Smith says a second, alternative intravenous drug has been added as an option because of difficulties in obtaining pentobarbital.
The agency's announcement Friday came just a few days after its last supplies of pentobarbital expired.
The drug's original manufacturer, Denmark-based Lundbeck Inc., said in 2011 that it was putting the drug off-limits for executions. It required that prohibition remain when it sold the product to Lake Forest, Ill.-based Akorn Inc.