Dutch pension fund ‘wins change’ at Hospira over execution drugs

US drugs company Hospira has responded to pressure from Dutch pension fund ABP and will stop selling the anaesthetic propofol to prisons, so it can no longer be used in US executions, the civil service fund said on Thursday.

ABP, one of the world’s biggest pension funds, has €5m invested in the company and began an investigation after it was revealed the drug was being sold to American prisons.

Last month, the Danish medical doctors’ pension fund sold its equity stake in Hospira, after ‘receiving no reply’ to ‘repeated’ requests to change its distribution system to prevent misuse of propofol, Bloomberg reported.

ABP chairman Henk Brouwer said in a statement: ‘Talks with companies are often more effective than removing them from the investment list’.

Hospira said in a statement that it would ‘cease the direct sale to US state prison hospitals of products, specifically pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride and propofol, that we believe are part of some states’ lethal injection protocols.’

‘We continue to believe that efforts to influence policy on capital punishment are best directed at legislators who have the authority and ability to establish policy,’ the statement said.