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Last April, about 250 Belgian pharmacies began selling easy-to-use euthanasia kits.

The kits, purportedly only sold to doctors, cost around $77 and contain all the drugs and materials needed to end life, including instructions on setting up an IV drip.

Some pharmacists denounced the kits as a publicity stunt to promote certain pharmacies. Moral theologian Fr. Thierry Lievens, from Brussels, found the “technical logic” manifested in these kits “frightening.”

“The death of another becomes a technical act that is equivalent to building a house.”

From there,” he said, “it is logical that a technical act will fall into the commercial domain.”        [AFP, 4/17/05; NCR, 9/23/05]

The Netherlands:

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the influential pro-euthanasia group, NVVE, has developed more euthanasia guidelines, this time for making the “LastWillPill” (aka “Peaceful Pill”) available to all seniors age 75 or older so they can end their lives.

The idea of a suicide pill for the elderly was originally conceived in 1991 by Prof. Huib Drion, a former Dutch Supreme Court justice who died last year.

NVVE’s new procedural guidelines would take LastWillPill deaths “out of the medical domain” and place them under a “national authority” appointed by the government to dispense the fatal pills, train volunteers to assist the elderly, and be present when pills are taken.

The national authority would have convenient regional locations and would be required to submit annual reports to the government. [Relevant, (NVVE?s monthly publication), 7/05, p. 21]

Comment: The need for NVVE?s guidelines appears premature since no suicide pill is currently available anywhere. [ERGO, Right-to-die News List, 8/9/05] Perhaps the group is positioning itself to be the appointed “national authority” if there ever is such a pill.

[International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Update, 2005, Volume 19, Number 3, 1Oct05]

Patients Rights Coalition