Leading pharma firm signs anti-lethal injection pledge

March 28, 2012

Image of drugs

Leading pharmaceutical company Lundbeck has become the first to sign up to a new ‘Pharmaceutical Hippocratic oath’ for the industry which condemns the use of drugs in executions.

The pledge builds on last year’s successful move by the firm to prevent its products being used to carry out the death penalty in the US – while ensuring that they remain available for legitimate medical use. Reprieve is now urging other pharmaceutical companies to follow Lundbeck’s lead in signing up to the Pharmaceutical Hippocratic Oath, and ensuring that their drugs do not reach US execution chambers.

Under the oath, companies pledge that:

“We dedicate our work to developing and distributing pharmaceuticals to the service of humanity; we will practice our profession with conscience and dignity; the right to health of the patient will be our first consideration; we condemn the use of any of our pharmaceuticals in the execution of human beings.”

Reprieve investigator, Maya Foa said: “Pharmaceutical companies are growing increasingly vocal in their opposition to the abuse of their medicines in US executions. This is a powerful statement from Lundbeck, affirming that the right to health of the patient is the first concern of the industry. Other responsible and ethical pharmaceutical companies would do well to follow suit.”


Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 427 1082 / (0) 7791 755 415

2. Reprieve launched the Pharmaceutical Hippocratic Oath campaign earlier this week. Further information can be found on Reprieve’s website.

3. 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 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA. Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’ Follow Reprieve on twitter: @ReprieveUK; if you were forwarded this release, sign up to join our press mailing list.