By Carey Gillam
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct 22 (Reuters) - Missouri announced on Tuesday that a "compounding pharmacy" would supply lethal injection drugs for future executions, the latest U.S. state to turn to the lightly regulated sector after major pharmaceutical companies refused to sell drugs for executions.
The Missouri Department of Corrections said in a brief statement that it would switch to using a single drug for executions, pentobarbital. Missouri had used a three drug protocol until recently.
"The department also announced that it has added a compounding pharmacy to its execution team," the statement said. Asked the name of the pharmacy, department spokesman David Owen said that information could not be disclosed.
Missouri is the latest of a half dozen U.S. states turning for lethal injection drugs to compounding pharmacies - which typically mix drugs for individual prescriptions and are subject to light federal government regulation. The practice has drawn protests from opponents of the death penalty and advocates for death row inmates, who say the lack of regulation risks a botched execution.
Missouri announced earlier this month that it would search for a new drug for executions after it came under pressure from drug makers, especially in Europe, not to use the drug propofol in executions. A German maker of the drug, Fresenius Kabi, had suspended shipments to a U.S. distributor after some of the drug was provided to Missouri for executions.