Firm Demands Its Drug Not Be Used in Florida Execution

Against everything the Danish company stands for, says boss
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 28, 2011 2:42 AM CDT
A Danish firm is protesting the use of one of its drugs in the planned execution tomorrow of Manuel Valle, 61, in Florida.   (AP Photo/Florida Department of Corrections)

(Newser) – A Danish drug firm is demanding Florida not use its anesthetic in the planned execution tomorrow of a Cuban national for the murder of a police officer. If Florida goes ahead with the pentobarbital, manufactured by the Lundbeck company under the trademark Nembutal, it would be the first time the drug would be used in an execution in the state, reports the Guardian. But it's increasingly being used by some of the 35 states that still have executions instead of sodium thiopental, whose supply has been suspended by its US maker to protest its use to kill people.

Experts have warned that the untested pentobarbital could inflict extreme suffering on prisoners as they die. The use of Nembutal in executions in Florida "contradicts everything Lundbeck is in business to do—provide therapies that improve people's lives," wrote company president Staffan Schuberg in a letter to the Florida governor. Lundbeck now restricts sales to any prison or corrections department in the US, but several states have been stockpiling the drug. There was no immediate response from state officials.

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