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Execution Drug Maker Wants Texas to Give It Back

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

The owner of a compounding pharmacy outside Houston says he was told it was "unlikely" that his business would be revealed as the source of the state's lethal injection drug, pentobarbital.

Now that his Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy is known to be manufacturer of the drug intended for use in this week's scheduled execution and beyond, Jasper Lovoi has sent a letter to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), demanding the drug's return.

Lovoi's letter says he finds himself "in the middle of a firestorm" that he "was not advised of and did not bargain for." The identities of Lovoi and his pharmacy were originally revealed by the Associated Press, which obtained the information through an Open Records Request for its story on the new source of pentobarbital.

But TDCJ says it will not return the drugs. 

"The drugs were purchased legally by the agency," TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark said in an email. "TDCJ has no intention of returning the pentobarbital."

Maurie Levin is an attorney representing a man scheduled to be executed Wednesday. She says she's not surprised that Lovoi is upset. 

"They felt like they had been lied to," Levin told KUT. "I think that it part and parcel of a pattern of behavior by TDCJ around the question of lethal injections that just shows a lot of bad faith.”

Lovoi says he and his staff have been bombarded with "constant inquiries from the press" and "hate mail and messages" from death penalty opponents. Even the Google Reviews page for his businesshas received almost a dozen one-star reviews from people critical of his decision to sell the execution drug. 

"Dr. Lovoi is a man who took a sacred oath to preserve ALL human life at all costs," said one review by Samantha Shuffield.

Texas needed a new source of pentobarbital since its existing supply expired and its international manufacturers stopped selling it for execution purposes. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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