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Centene says subsidiary will no longer provide drugs for Missouri executions

Centene says subsidiary will no longer provide drugs for Missouri executions

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After a local pharmacy tied to Centene Corp. was identified on Tuesday as the supplier of drugs used for executions in Missouri, Centene said the pharmacy would no longer provide the drugs used for executions.

“Under Centene’s ownership, Foundation Care has never supplied, and will never supply any pharmaceutical product to any state for the purpose of effectuating executions,” according to an emailed statement from Centene.

The pharmacy, St. Louis County-based Foundation Care, was first cited in a report by Chris McDaniel of BuzzFeed News.

The state had gone to great lengths to keep the pharmacy’s identity a secret, including making it illegal to disclose the name of the pharmacy that supplies the drugs.

Centene subsidiary AcariaHealth acquired Foundation Care in October 2017. Missouri has not executed an inmate in more than a year. The next execution is scheduled for March.

As McDaniel reported, many suppliers have stopped producing the drugs used to kill prisoners sentenced to death, making it harder for states to procure the drugs.

Foundation Care had a troubled history with federal regulators and was flagged as a “high-risk” pharmacy by the Food and Drug Administration in 2013, BuzzFeed reported. Foundation Care’s CEO declined through an assistant to talk to McDaniel.

In 2014, the FDA sent a letter to the Missouri Board of Pharmacy warning that the pharmacy’s practices “could lead to contamination of drugs, potentially putting patients at risk,” according to McDaniel’s report.

Foundation Care was founded in 2004 and had 245 employees at the time Foundation Care was acquired by AcariaHealth, the statement announcing the deal said.

Centene acquired AcariaHealth, a specialty pharmacy company, in 2013. AcariaHealth focuses on patients living with complex diseases such as multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis. Centene is a health insurance company.

Centene’s core business is contracting with states to manage the care of Medicaid recipients, or individuals with low incomes who qualify for subsidized health care. Centene manages the care of about 7.1 million Medicaid recipients across the country, according to its most recent annual filing.

Samantha Liss • 314-340-8017

@samanthann on Twitter

sliss@post-dispatch.com

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