The Guardian reports, "Florida execution: drug firm protests to governor over lethal injection," by Ed Pilkington.
The head of a Danish drug company has written to Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, to protest about the use of one of its anaesthetics in the execution of a Cuban national scheduled to take place on Wednesday.
Staffan Schuberg, president of Lundbeck, the manufacturers of pentobarbital under the trademark Nembutal, has sent two letters to the governor expressing his "adamant" opposition to what would be Florida's first use of the drug as part of a lethal injection. Barring an eleventh-hour stay, the three-drug cocktail will be administered to Manuel Valle, 61, at 3pm for the 1989 murder of a police officer.
Pentobarbital is increasingly being used by some of the 35 states that still practise executions as an alternative to the anaesthetic sodium thiopental, whose only producer in the US, Hospira, has suspended supply in protest at its use to kill people. The new barbiturate has been used in states such as Oklahoma and Texas, and in Georgia where it was used last week as part of the lethal injection that killed Troy Davis.
But doctors and legal experts warn that pentobarbital is untested and could inflict extreme suffering on prisoners as they die. In his letter to Scott, Schuberg wrote that the use of his company's drugs in executions in Florida "contradicts everything Lundbeck is in business to do – provide therapies that improve people's lives."
In a later letter, he added: "The use of pentobarbital outside of the approved labelling has not been established. As such Lundbeck cannot assure the safety and efficacy profiles in such instances."
Deborah Denno, an expert in the death penalty at Fordham university law school, said the intervention by the manufacturer itself of Nembutal in writing to the Florida governor took opposition to use of the drug to a whole new level. "I don't know how you could cast more doubt on the use of a drug than when you have the condemnation of it by its own maker," she said.
UPI posts, "Firm to Fla.: Don't use drug in execution."
A drugmaker has told Florida Gov. Rick Scott using one of its untested products in an execution "contradicts everything" the company is in business to do.
Pentobarbital -- the barbiturate Georgia used last week as part of the lethal drug-mix injection that killed convicted killer Troy Davis -- has not been proven in clinical tests to produce the desired result or effect "outside of the approved labeling," Lundbeck Inc. President Staffan Schuberg said in a letter to Scott.
He expressed his "adamant" opposition to using the sedative and anti-seizure medicine in Wednesday's scheduled 4 p.m. EDT execution of Manuel Valle, 61, convicted of killing Coral Gables, Fla., police officer Louis Pena 33 years ago.
The execution would be Florida's first use of the drug as the first of three drugs administered during a lethal injection.
"In Florida execution, Danish company Lundbeck demands its drug not be used," is the Washington Post report by Elizabeth Flock.
It will be Florida's first use of the drug as part of a lethal injection.
Earlier coverage of the controversy over using pentobarbital in Florida lethal injections begins at the link.