COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The only U.S.-licensed maker of a drug used by several states to execute inmates is selling the product to another drug manufacturer.

Denmark-based Lundbeck Inc. says a distribution system meant to keep the drug out of the hands of prisons will remain in place as Lake Forest, Ill.-based Akorn Inc. acquires the drug.

Lundbeck says pentobarbital, also known by its trademark name, Nembutal, was never an important part of its business.

Lundbeck couldn't immediately say if the decision to sell the drug was based on controversy over its use in executions.

A message was left with Akorn seeking comment.

Several states switched to pentobarbital after supplies of a previous execution drug dried up, and states are expected to need a new drug soon as the restrictions on pentobarbital take effect.

Date: December 21, 2011
Source: Associated Press