Lundbeck, the Danish drug manufacturer, is restricting the distribution of its Nembutal product to prevent it being used in executions.
Nembutal is the trade name for Lundbeck’s pentobarbital sodium injection and is an anaesthetic which is traditionally used to treat cases of severe epilepsy.
However, in some US states it is used as one of three components which make up an execution drug used on death row prisoners.
The pharmaceutical company has now made distributors in the US agree that they will not make the drug available to prisons in the country.
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This follows a similar move made by the UK in April, in which the exports of three drugs that are used together for executions, including pentobarbital, were banned to the US.
In a statement Lundbeck said Nembutal will now be “supplied exclusively through a specialty pharmacy drop ship program that will deny distribution of the product to prisons in US states currently active in carrying out the death penalty by lethal injection.”
“We cannot guarantee anything, but we are convinced that our new distribution programme will help to limit the abuse of Nembutal by prisons in their executions.”
It is thought the company is not comfortable with the drug being used for executions because it limits the supplies available to epilepsy patients.
Meanwhile, the Danish government has said it would like to limit and eventually eliminate the use of the death penalty worldwide.