Dr Philip Nitschke, founder of euthanasia group Exit International, made headlines yet again this week when he announced that he will import the suicide drug Nembutal to Australia. He has said that he intends to exploit a “loophole” in the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s regulations on medicine to import the drug for a woman in South Australia. However, as a anti-euthanasia campaigner Paul Russell suggests, it may be a lot of hot air – the “loophole” to which Nitschke refers may not actually exist.
Nitschke says the TGA has approved the importation – which it has not – and that he intends to import Nembutal under a provision in the TGA’s guidelines for unregistered medicines. These guidelines explicitly state that medicines in this category must be for treating life-threatening diseases with medicines which have not undergone formal clinical trials. While Nembutal was once used as a sedative, its primary function at present is to euthanase animals and humans. ~ Sydney Morning Herald, Sep 27; Careful!, Sep 27; London Telegraph, Sep 26