Brain-damaged man to be executed using Lundbeck’s neurological treatment drugs

May 16, 2011

A man with grave neurological disorders is scheduled to be executed tomorrow [Tuesday] with drugs that should be used to treat him.

Ohio is set to execute 63 year-old Danny Lee Bedford – who suffers from seizures, strokes and brain trauma – using a massive overdose of a drug made by Danish firm Lundbeck and originally developed for the treatment of seizures.

The range of disorders afflicting Danny severely impairs his neurological functioning. Unable to carry out simple tasks or comprehend and retain information, he has no memory of the crime for which he has been condemned and is incapable of understanding the punishment.

Legal action charity Reprieve is asking Lundbeck’s CEO to write urgently to Ohio’s Governor in support of a petition filed by Danny’s lawyers which states that his neurological condition renders him incompetent to be executed. Reprieve is also asking that CEO Ulf Wiinberg uses Lundbeck’s expertise to confirm Bedford’s neurological deficiencies and detail the treatment he should be receiving for them. As leaders in the field of neurology and psychiatry, Lundbeck are well placed to diagnose and prescribe treatment for Danny; and as manufacturers of the drug that Ohio Department of Corrections intend to use to kill him, their contribution to his legal case will be crucial.

Reprieve’s Director, Clive Stafford Smith said:

“Lundbeck’s mission is ‘to improve the quality of life for those suffering from psychiatric and neurological disorders’, but they are quickly gaining a reputation for ending lives rather than improving them. Lundbeck should exit the execution drug market immediately lest all of their noble claims be revealed to be meaningless.”


Notes to editors

1. For further information please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office on +44 (0)20 7427 1082 / (0)7791 755 415

2. Danny Lee Bedford has been on death row for nearly three decades. He is borderline mentally retarded and suffers from dementia. Last week, his lawyers filed a Ford petition claiming that his vast array of neurological disorders render him incompetent to be executed. Reprieve has asked Lundbeck CEO, Ulf Wiinberg, to send a letter supporting the Ford petition to Ohio’s Governor Kasich, outlining Danny’s neurological deficiencies and detailing the treatment he should be given. The letters are attached below.

3. Daniel Bedford will be the 9th person to be executed using Lundbeck’s pentobarbital. Ohio was the one of the first states to change their lethal injection protocol to Lundbeck’s drug, and the only one so far to have opted to use it alone rather than in the three-drug cocktail. To date, over two-thirds of states with active death chambers have now switched their lethal injection protocol to Lundbeck’s pentobarbital.

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 27 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

ReprievePO Box 52742London EC4P 4WSTel: 020 7353 4640Fax: 020 7353 4641Email: is a charitable company limited by guarantee; Registered Charity No. 1114900 Registered Company No. 5777831 (England) Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 6YH; Chair: Ken Macdonald QC; Patrons: Alan Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon Roddick, Richard Rogers, Ruth Rogers, Jon Snow, Marina Warner, Vivienne Westwood