Nitschke gets supply of banned sedative

EUTHANASIA advocate Dr Philip Nitschke has secured a supply of the banned barbiturate Nembutal (pentobarbital) through a Swiss agent but confusion remains as to which agency, if any, will oversee its use.

Dr Nitschke has notified the TGA he intends to prescribe the drug as a nocturnal sedative for a terminally ill patient and will need permission from the Office of Chemical Safety to import it, but admitted he was unsure what would happen after that.

Dr Nitschke will rely on the TGA’s special access scheme to import the drug and will be required to certify that he will adhere to good medical practice in prescribing it. 

He has been warned by the TGA that he could face a range of serious sanctions from professional bodies if he did not.

However, the TGA last week distanced itself from the process, with a spokesperson saying it has no role in approving the importation or use of the drug.

A Medical Board of Australia