Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia: The pharmacist's perspective

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Pharmacists are in a critical position when pharmaceutical agents are prescribed for the purpose of physician-assisted suicide and/or euthanasia and they may need to decide whether dispensing a lethal dose of a medication is ethically and morally acceptable for a patient. In many cases, pharmacists may not even be aware that prescriptions are intended for physician-assisted suicide and/or euthanasia. Pharmacists have a special responsibility to protect patients who are contemplating end-of-life decisions such as physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. Pharmaceutical care ("Responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient's quality of life . . . ") requires that the pharmacist not only understands the medications but also the individual patient and the complexities of their lives and suffering. Only in this way can pharmacists provide safe and effective use of medications for the patients they serve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


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