Some Dutch pharmacists refusing to supply euthanasia drugs

Although euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, some Dutch pharmacists are refusing to supply the lethal drugs needed to carry it out. According to the investigative TV program Altijd Wat Monitor, this does not necessarily happen because of religious objections to euthanasia. Some pharmacists do not know the doctors who approved the euthanasia; others do not agree with euthanasia for conditions like dementia or depression. “A pharmacy is not a shop where deadly drugs are just handed over,” a spokesperson for the pharmacists’ association said.

Pharmacists have no official role in the euthanasia protocols and they are not obliged to cooperate. According to  Annemieke Horikx, of the association, they should not be regarded as mere instruments in the hands of doctors. “If you don’t agree you can’t continue,” she said. She also complained that doctors call pharmacies and demand immediate service. “That’s no way to request medication. These are matters of life and death we’re dealing with.”

Green MP Linda Voortman was outraged by the news and wants the Health Minister to intervene. “Pharmacists should not be able to refuse what two doctors have approved,” she said.

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | conscientious objection, euthanasia, Netherlands

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