Lundbeck, the Danish drug company, said it will restrict the distribution of its Nembutal drug in order to prevent U.S. prisons from using it in lethal injections.

The company has moved to alter the distribution of its medicine Nembutal [the trade name for its pentobarbital sodium injection] in order to restrict its application as part of lethal injections in the US, Lundbeck said in a statement.

From now on, the company indicated, Nembutal will be supplied exclusively through a specialty pharmacy drop ship program that will deny distribution of the product to prisons in US states currently active in carrying out the death penalty by lethal injection.”

In a statement, Lundbeck’s chief executive officer Ulf Wiinberg, said: Lundbeck adamantly opposes the distressing misuse of our product in capital punishment. Since learning about the misuse we have vetted a broad range of remedies - many suggested during ongoing dialogue with external experts, government officials, and human rights advocates. After much consideration, we have determined that a restricted distribution system is the most meaningful means through which we can restrict the misuse of Nembutal.

He added: While the company has never sold the product directly to prisons and therefore can't make guarantees, we are confident that our new distribution program will play a substantial role in restricting prisons' access to Nembutal for misuse as part of lethal injection.

According to Agence France Presse, the company’s pentobarbital anesthetic is typically used in the treatment of severe epilepsy; however several states in the U.S. use the drug as part of a cocktail to execute condemned prisoners.

We cannot guarantee anything, but we are convinced that our new distribution program will help to limit the abuse of Nembutal by prisons in their execution,” Wiinberg told Berlingske, the national daily newspaper of Denmark.

“At the same time we ensure patient access to vital treatment,

Earlier this year, Denmark’s foreign minister Lene Espersen said she wanted to contact certain US states to urge them to cease using Nembutal in executions.