This is the text of an open letter which we will be sending to a major medical journal or newspaper to try and get Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals to stop supplying US death rows with Pentobarbital for use in executions. To date, their stated position is that Lundbeck oppose the death penalty and it is too difficult to interrupt the supply chain. This is not true, as stated in the letter.
PLEASE only sign this letter if you are a medical professional. If you are NOT a medical professional, feel free to cut and paste the letter and send direct to Mr Wiinberg at Lundbeck via e-mail ASCH@Lundbeck.com
Ulf Wiinberg (c/o Anders Schroll: ASCH@Lundbeck.com)
H. Lundbeck A/S Ottiliavej 9
DK-2500 Copenhagen Valby
As clinicians and prescribers of Lundbeck’s products, we are appalled at the inaction of Lundbeck to prevent the supply of their drug, Pentobarbital (Nembutal), for use in executions in the US. You have stated that as a Danish multinational, you are opposed to the death penalty and that if you “had a simple solution… would be extremely happy to implement it.”(1) Lundbeck’s code of ethics state that your corporate values are to be “imaginative, passionate and responsible” and that “Our standards for suppliers shall be aligned with internal standards”(2)
Yet, Lundbeck have singularly failed to live up to these standards by insisting on the very solution that would stop Lundbeck’s drug from being used to kill people. Pentobarbital is rapidly proving to be the drug of choice for US executions. Lundbeck should restrict the distribution of Pentobarbital to legitimate users (it is licensed for refractory status epilepticus and lowering intracranial pressure in the US), but not to executioners. Indeed, Lundbeck already does this for other neurological products in the US (Vigabatrin (Sabril); Tetrabenazine (Xenazine)) for valid safety reasons either via a specialty pharmacy or a third-party logistics company.
It is time for Lundbeck to stop issuing platitudes and ensure that its products are used properly to benefit human health.
1.Financial Times. 13th May 2011. Fund sells Lundbeck stake over death row drug. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ff00a5f8-7d93-11e0-b418-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1MJaNzEY4 (accessed 14th May, 2011)
2. Lundbeck code of ethics http://www.lundbeck.com/corporate_responsibility/policies/code_of_ethics/default.asp (accessed 14th May, 2011)