German doctor cannot import suicide drugs


Central Europe


Nursing assistant measures the blood pressure of a patient. Image not related to article. Photo AFP, Ina Fassbender

A German doctor cannot import suicide drugs from Switzerland to accommodate patients with a death wish.

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices in Germany does not have to give a doctor permission to import suicide drugs from Switzerland and give them to his patients who request them. That was the verdict of the Higher Administrative Court of Cologne, Idea reports. With that, it confirmed an earlier ruling of the Administrative Court of Cologne.


The case started because the head of the medical team at the euthanasia association made the request. He wanted to import the poisonous drugs with the help of the Swiss office of the euthanasia association. The doctor planned to leave the sodium pentobarbital at their own disposal for patients who wanted to commit suicide. These people cannot get suicide drugs anywhere else, as pharmacies in Germany are not allowed to sell them freely.

However, the judge now ruled that doctors are not allowed to provide medicines at their own disposal. They can prescribe them or give them to the patient for immediate consumption only, the court said. Only pharmacists can sell prescribed medicines directly to patients as long as the drugs are freely available, Idea writes.



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