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Lethal Medication Sourced for Victoria’s Voluntary Euthanasia Scheme

Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital will have sole responsibility for importing, preparing and supplying all the required drugs for the lethal medication to be used by Victoria’s first voluntary euthanasia patients.

Acting Health Minister Martin Foley said having just one hospital involved boosted the safety of the program.

The medication needed to make the lethal dose is already legal in Australia, and there will be no need to import the banned euthanasia drug pentobarbital.

“The Alfred is one of Victoria’s leading hospitals. Having a single point of access for voluntary assisted dying is just one of the ways we’re making sure the model is the safest and most conservative in the world,” Mr Foley said.

Authorities made the decision to have a single point of access for the euthanasia drug, rather than having it dispensed from multiple pharmacies, to ensure patients are provided with consistent information, and that unused medications are returned and destroyed.

The news marks a significant milestone for the historic voluntary assisted dying scheme, which from June 19 will give gravely ill Victorians help to end their lives, if their request is approved.

The composition of the lethal drug has for some time been the subject of discussion and speculation. One of the options under consideration was attempting to import the euthanasia drug pentobarbital (better known as Nembutal), though it’s banned for human use in Australia.

The alternative scenario was to use a concoction of legal medication, possibly taken in powder form and mixed with a drink.

The Alfred’s pharmacy director Professor Michael Dooley this week announced that the medications that had been sourced were already legal in Australia.

He said the dose would usually be a standard amount, and there would be different medications used depending on whether the patient was able to swallow or inject the drug.

 

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Source: Sydney Morning Herald