Denmark Tries To Stop Use Of Death Penalty Drug

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Denmark’s foreign minister said Thursday she will urge U.S. states such as Texas and Ohio to stop using a drug produced by a Danish company in lethal injections, and Britain announced it was banning the export of three such drugs to the United States.

Lene Espersen said she cannot take direct action against the company that produces pentobarbital because the drug is not exported from Denmark. It is produced by a plant in Kansas that is owned by Denmark’s Lundbeck A/S.

Pentobarbital is a sedative with a range of medical uses, including the treatment of epileptic seizures and other conditions that require some form of sedation. Since late last year, it has been used in the U.S. for lethal injections. Denmark, as is the case with the rest of Europe, is against the death penalty.

Espersen has been asked by a left-wing opposition group if Denmark could find a way of stopping some U.S. states from using the drug in its executions.

“I have no possibility to take direct action at American states’ use of the product for executions, but I will also contact these states through the Danish Embassy in Washington with a call to cease using pentobarbital,” Espersen said in a letter posted on Parliament’s Web site April 12.

In Denmark, lawmakers can put written questions to government members who must reply in writing.

“I find it deeply regrettable that a legal medical product is used for executions,” she added in her reply to the small, left-wing opposition Red-Green Alliance.

Espersen could not be reached for comment Thursday.

In Britain, Business Secretary Vince Cable said Thursday that a block on exports of pentobarbital, as well as pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, would be formalized in a few days. The country in November blocked exports of the sedative sodium thiopental for use in executions.

Copenhagen-based Lundbeck has found itself in a difficult position as several U.S. states have switched to pentobarbital for lethal injections to replace sodium thiopental.

Pentobarbital has been used to execute prisoners in Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. Fellow U.S. states Mississippi and Arizona are also considering switching to the drug for lethal injections.

Lundbeck has written letters to U.S. prison authorities asking them not to use pentobarbital for lethal injections, but with little change. The pharmaceutical company, whose best-sellers include drugs for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders, is under pressure from human rights groups to take stronger action, such as rewriting distribution contracts with clauses prohibiting sales of pentobarbital to U.S. prisons.

Lundbeck has rejected that idea, saying it would be impossible for distributors to track how every vial is used.

The company has said it sells about 50 million doses of pentobarbital a year, but has declined to give any breakdown of sales. Pentobarbital, it has said, accounts for a very small percentage of overall sales.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • darrell

    i do not know of a single case where anyone convicted to death showed any mercy or cared about how much pain their victims suffered before they died. i feel that executing these people is fair justice. however, i do not feel as if they deserve a “humane” death considering their victims didnt have that option. bring back public hangings or the electric chair.

  • Denmark Tries To Stop Use Of Death Penalty Drug « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] Denmark Tries To Stop Use Of Death Penalty Drug Denmark’s foreign minister is urging states such as Texas and Ohio to stop using a lethal injection drug produced by a Danish company. Go to News Source […]

  • Beanz

    Totally agree with darnell. When will these hippies learn that everything isnt all sunshine and rainbows? Once you rape and kill a child or murder an entire family, you are no longer a human being. Youre a monster that needs to be removed from society.

  • cassie

    Im with Darrell bring back public hangings. I know there are somany people who say some of these people may be innocent. Fine lets do it this way, if you confess or there is DNA proof or some other concrete proof, then hang them up. How in the world can anyone justify keeping someone alive who likes to torture, rape and murder little kids? That honestly means that is something happens and they geet out or escape that they would do it again. That could be my kid they do that to, I wouldn’t want it to be any kid. Some people are honestly just past helping. At that point it is more merciful to put everyone out of their misery by putting them to death.


    i agree with all of the above. and let us introduce stoning. will make the madmen/women maybe think twice before their horrendous, unspeakable, foul deeds.


    as a note here to above comment….our death punishment(s) here in america seem to be too quick, clean, and easy. death becomes the condemned in matters of moments at the most. stoning is a completely different set of rules.

  • Hope

    Everyone who commented before me makes me embarrased for my fellow Americans. You are all ignorant and hateful and small minded. The death penalty is barbaric and is only used currently in third world autocratic nations and I for one wish we weren’t on that list. The use of capital punishment was originally meant to be a deterrent, not a revenge. And the numbers of people exonerated from death rows is approaching 150, how many innocent people were murdered by the state before they were shown to be the victims of malicious misconduct by the police and the prosecutors with their “win at all costs” mentality to appease the mids of ignorant individuals such as yourselves.

    • darrell

      HOPE. several points i would like to make to your comment.
      first, those 3rd world countries you speak of that use these “barbaric” methods of death penalty execution also have an extremely low rate of violent crime. in this country, where a child can be killed sitting in his living room from a drive by, or scalled to death for wetting its pants. where an elderly woman can be beaten to death for her grocery money or teenage kids have running gun battles with authorities. the worse they have to look forward too is 3 hots and a cot, a legal team, and relative comfort for 10 years or more before being put to sleep isnt much of a deterrent.

      many years ago i was taught that somewhere in those mountains of legal words that have become our justice system i remember a few words that really stuck in my head. somewhere its said something like this.

      “the punishment shall be equal to the crime”

      the person who kidnapped, beat, raped and strangled a child deserves all the pain, agony and public humiliation i can think of when they are put to death. and i have a very vivid imagination.

    • les

      why don’t you go spend a couple of night’s with them ??? after that i think you will change your mind

  • Beanz

    Hope will change her tune if one of these criminals she loves so much is released and does something to one of her loved ones. Yes some people are innocent, but everyone isnt. If you dont like it, move to Denmark.

  • Beanz

    Also, since you feel the death penalty should be a deterrent, what better deterrent than knowing if you kill someone in a violent manner you’ll be killed in the same way? Not rocked to sleep with a chorus of violins playing behind you like the hippies want it.

blog comments powered by Disqus
The Taz Show

Listen Live