By Terry Vanderheyden

BRUSSELS, December 19, 2005 ( – Belgian pharmacists were given the go-ahead to dispense lethal cocktails to physicians who request them for the purpose of euthanizing patients, three years after the practice was legalized.

Until now, pharmacists were not protected under the euthanasia law enacted in 2002 that made it legal for physicians to kill their patients. In the event that doctors were charged in an illegal death, pharmacists until now were subject to potential prosecution. The new measure makes physician-assisted suicide more accessible to all.

Up until now, pharmacists were seemingly undaunted by the potential backlash, however, as 250 pharmacies had already begun distribution of a “euthanasia kit” there last spring. The kits, which cost 60 Euros ($77 US), were proposed as a means to make the jobs of doctors who commit euthanasia in homes easier.

In April of this year, Belgian health authorities had reported almost 700 euthanasia killings by physicians since its legalization in 2002.

See related coverage:
  Belgian Government Urges Catholic Hospitals to Commit Euthanasia
  400 Reported Belgian Euthanasia Cases in Two Years
  Euthanasia of Infants by Doctors Responsible for Nearly Half of Newborn Deaths in Belgium


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