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Danish firm limits sale of execution drug

Associated Press / July 2, 2011

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COPENHAGEN - A Danish pharmaceutical company is changing its distribution system to stop one of its drugs from being used in US executions, adding a significant obstacle for states that have scrambled recently to find a suitable lethal injection drug.

Lundbeck Inc. chief executive Ulf Wiinberg said yesterday his company will demand that US distributors sign an agreement stating they will not make pentobarbital - a sedative with a number of uses - available for prisons using it for lethal injections.

A growing number of death penalty states are using the sedative since the sole US manufacturer of another key execution drug announced this year that it would not resume production of it.

Wiinberg said his company would take action against any distributor who breaks the agreement.

Pentobarbital, which is produced in Lundbeck’s plant in Kansas, is also used to treat seizures and destroy animals.

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