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German court rejects access to euthanasia medication

Although the ban on commercial aid in dying is two years ago overturned by the Federal Constitutional Court, this does not mean that people in Germany who intend to die by suicide are legally entitled to have acces to lethal medication. This is the outcome of a legal proces that was outspoken on Wednesday February 2.

Request for acces to lethal medication

Three people suffering from serious incurable diseases requested special permission from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) to be allowed to buy the drugs needed to die by suicide.

A court in the German city of Münster ruled that the people do not have the right to acquire medication that would allow them to end their lives. The regional higher administrative court said the institute was not “obliged to allow seriously ill people who have decided to commit suicide the purchase” of lethal drugs for this purpose.

Not the court but politics have to decide

The ruling added that it is up to a democratically elected government to change the law on acquiring lethal drugs, but that in the meantime such a practice would remain illegal.

What’s next?

The court’s ruling emphasized that people in Germany who want to end their lives still have access to a variety of options. It explained that there are doctors who will prescribe medications with lethal effects as well as other forms of supportive treatment.

A spokesperson for the German Health Ministry had said earlier in the day that the court’s decision would play a role in any debate in the Bundestag over new rules regarding assisted suicide. The German Foundation for the Protection of Patients welcomed the court’s decision.

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