Ever since the production of the anesthetic sodium thiopental was discontinued by its U.S. source (Hospira, Inc.), because of concerns over its use in executions, pentobarbital has rapidly become the anesthetic of choice for U.S. executioners. Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas have already carried out executions with it.
Denmark-based Lundbeck is the company whose version of pentobarbital (known as Nembutal) has been used in all these executions, and is slated to be used in at least 6 of the 7 executions scheduled for the rest of June. (Georgia officials claim they have a different version of pentobarbital, provided to them by Cardinal Health of Ohio; Lundbeck says its drug HAS been sold to Georgia.)
Lundbeck has always objected to the use of its drug in executions, stating things like: “This is fully against what we stand for.” But prison officials in executing states have been unmoved by this rhetoric. So now, after some aggressive prompting from campaigning groups like Reprieve, Lundbeck says they are planning to take things up a notch.