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Ohio says it will switch to new drugs for executions

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Ohio said on Monday that it does not have enough of the drug pentobarbital to carry out a scheduled execution next month, the latest U.S. state to face a scarcity after the European manufacturer banned its sale for lethal injections of prisoners sentenced to death.

Ohio is one of a number of U.S. states which have been forced to look to new suppliers such as lightly regulated "compounding pharmacies," or turn to new drugs for executions because major pharmaceutical companies are opposed to use of their drugs in carrying out the death penalty.

On October 10, Ohio published a new execution guideline which allowed the state to seek pentobarbital from a compounding pharmacy, a type of supplier that is not closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Danish manufacturer of pentobarbital, Lundbeck LLC, has banned its sale to prisons or corrections departments for the death penalty. The European Union, of which Denmark is a member, is opposed to the death penalty and has put pressure on U.S. states to stop the practice.

On Monday, Ohio prison officials notified the state that Ohio does not have "sufficient quantity" of pentobarbital to carry out the execution of Ronald Phillips on November 14, according to Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith.

She said the state will turn to the drugs midazolam and hydromorphone, which are not commonly used in lethal injections, for the Phillips execution.

(Reporting By Kim Palmer; Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Alden Bentley and David Gregorio)

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