20 Apr 2021

Patients who request euthanasia will be given 'off label' medicines

From Morning Report, 7:21 am on 20 April 2021

Patients requesting euthanasia will be given unapproved, unregulated and "off label" medicines, sparking warnings of prolonged and distressing deaths.

People who choose to swallow or ingest the fatal medicines, rather than taking them intravenously, will be given drugs that are compounded - or mixed up - by a pharmacist and provided to the patient without that concoction being approved by the regulator MedSafe.

The Ministry of Health says those opting for an injection would be given drugs that have been approved by MedSafe but for a different purpose - so the medicines will be provided for an unapproved, or "off-label" use.

Guyon Espiner has been investigating how prepared New Zealand is to introduce euathanasia.