Danish company does not want their drug used to kill people in Florida

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Lundbeck, Inc. the maker of Nembutal, one of the drugs Florida will use to execute death row inmate Manuel Valle with, has asked Gov. Rick Scott to not use their drug to kill people, the drug has obviously not been tested or approved for killing people. The letter was sent on June 8 and it is not known if Scott has replied to the letter. The drug has been used in other states' executions and Lundbeck has protested and tried to stop the distribution of the drug to prisons in the US that intend to use the it for execution. In the letter below Lundbeck mentions that they cannot control how licensed healthcare professionals use Nembutal or any other pharmaceutical product in the USA. It would be interesting to see how the business friendly Scott replies to the request from Lundbeck.
May 16, 2011

The Honorable Rick Scott, State of Florida, The Capitol, 400 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL, 32399-0001

Dear Governor Scott,

Lundbeck understands that the state of Florida has decided to use our product Nembutal® (pentobarbital sodium injection, USP) for the purpose of capital punishment. We are adamantly opposed to the use of Nembutal to execute prisoners because it contradicts everything we are in business to do — provide therapies that improve people's lives.

Given our strong opposition to this misuse of our product, we previously sent a letter to the Florida Department of Corrections urging it to refrain from using Nembutal for the purpose of capital punishment. The Florida Department of Corrections has not responded to our letter and we therefore request that you take immediate action to stop the use of Nembutal as a means to end lives.

After exploring several potential means of restricting the distribution of Nembutal, we've learned that we simply cannot control how licensed healthcare professionals use this or any pharmaceutical product in the United States. The only potentially effective action we can take is to appeal to you and urge that Florida refrain from using our product for a purpose that severely contradicts Lundbeck's mission to provide therapies that help improve people's lives.

Thank you for your serious consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,


June 8, 2011

The Honorable Rick Scott, State of Florida, The Capitol, 400 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL, 32399-0001

Dear Mr. Scott,

I am writing to follow up on my recent letter about your state's use of Nembutal® (pentobarbital sodium injection, USP) for the purpose of lethal injection in your state.

The use of pentobarbital outside the approved labeling has not been established. As such, Lundbeck cannot assure the associated safety and efficacy profiles in such instances. For this reason, we are concerned about its use in prison executions.

We ask that you stop using pentobarbital in the execution of prisoners in your state because it contradicts everything we are in business to do — provide therapies that improve people's lives.

Thank you for your serious consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,

Staffan Schüberg, President, Lundbeck, Inc.

Comments

1 - Absolutely vital that this letter is published in the USA.Good job, Jessica! Hopefully you will have plenty of readers of your blog.Emoticon

2 - On the Nembutol feature. Alas it falls in the same argument - Smith & Western make revolvers - they don't shoot people, or anything as far as I am aware. Surely the big issue is the execution of the people (so greatly favoured in the USA) and not the compound they use to carry out the killing. Albert Nobel saw the flaws in this argument and has left us with a legacy directed towards the uplifting of mankind not their execution. Change the hearts and minds of the Americans towards killing their fellow citizens. That might prove more productive. Remember, they could always use the branch of a tree or a length of rope to achieve the same result. Hit the motivation. Not the method. Good luck. An up hill climb I imagine!

3 - @Mike, I understand and mostly agree with your argument. However using Alfred Nobel as an example is flawed. The weapons manufacturer Bofors was owned by Nobel up until his death. This company produces weapons of war to this day, and on a larger scale than you might think. So the question is, what legacy did he actually leave behind?

4 - @Mike I do not think you can compare the makers of pharmaceuticals to the makers of guns, pharmaceutical companies aim to create products that will cure diseases and save lives while gun makers make products that will kill people. In my experience the USA is a very violent and inhumane society with little room for compassion, in such a society the death penalty and cruel punhow punishment of young convicted are given. How to make Americans more compassionate and willing to share with others to build a humane and happy society I do not know how it would happen.

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