In 2016, California enacted End-of-Life Option Act. The Act specifically exempts pharmacist and physicians from liabilities for participating in the medically-assisted suicide. Approximately 504 California patients requested the prescriptions last year.

From the inception of the bill, a group of healthcare providers voiced a strong opposition to the Act. Last year, the group and the American Academy of Medical Ethics filed a law suit challenging medically-assisted death. The case, in the opinions of many, had very little chances of surviving the initial stage due to the nature of the Act (it does not give any right to the doctors to bring a legal challenge in the first place). The judge, however, allowed the suit to proceed, ruling that the doctors alleged enough information to ultimately succeed on the merits.The state – defending the Act – argued that the law merely offers patients a choice and does not confer any rights and therefore should be dismissed. Nevertheless, the judge ruled that the doctors may proceed on the constitutional grounds (under equal protection and due process).

To read more about the suit: from U.S. News


A pharmacist may receive a prescription for a life-ending drug – usually secobarbital or pentobarbital – through electronic means and must consult the patient on the proper intake of the drug. The pharmacist should assure that the patient understands the purpose of the medication, its side effects (vomiting, prolonged suffering, etc.), and the procedure to take if the patient changes his mind (the medication should not be flushed down the toilet, and if a patients changes his mind after taking the drug, he should know how to prevent the drug from taking its effects).

More on procedures and compliance when dispensing life-ending drugs, from PharmacyTimes.

More information on life-ending drugs and recommended dosage and usage, from MedScape.