Euthanasia expert Philip Nitschke accused of gas import scam

EUTHANASIA advocate Philip Nitschke faces a second inquiry that could lead to his being barred from medical practice, after authorities were notified of the use of a sham beer-brewing company to import nitrogen cylinders capable of being used for suicide. 

Max Dog Brewing, which has a red cattle dog advertising logo, has been advertised on euthanasia websites as able to provide the tanks, which are compatible with plastic bags used for suffocation.

Dr Nitschke is at present under investigation for an application to import the sedative nembutal to use as a sleeping pill for a terminally ill patient.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency received a new notification of concern about Dr Nitschke's promotion of a suicide system using nitrogen and his links with Max Dog Brewing. The agency has launched a new inquiry.

Max Dog Brewing, which is described on euthanasia websites as a "very welcome development" because it can provide an imported nitrogen cylinder for $550, is a shelf company ultimately owned and solely controlled by Dr Nitschke.

The AHPRA has been told that Dr Nitschke has been advising his supporters he was developing a new regulator for use with nitrogen, instead of helium, and developing a system for delivering nitrogen bottles.

Nitrogen cylinders tend to be used for food processing and beer production. They face Customs and safety restrictions for import and delivery.

The Australian understands the AHPRA has sent a notification of the inquiry to Dr Nitschke as part of the investigation process.

Dr Nitschke last night told The Australian he could not comment and had not yet been notified of the latest inquiry.

An AHPRA spokeswoman said the authority did not comment on individual cases or inquiries.

The notification to the medical regulatory body came from anti-euthanasia campaigner Paul Russell, the chief executive of Hope, which works to stop assisted suicide.

Mr Russell said Dr Nitschke's comments to the Herald Sun newspaper two weeks ago left "a great deal unsaid and many questions in need of answers".

Dr Nitschke said two weeks ago that his voluntary euthanasia group, Exit International, had sold 50 gas kits and ordered another 100 -- most of which had already been pre-ordered.

He said there had been a surge in demand from people wanting the gas.

"If people really want an anonymous death, that is one that will never be detected, (this) is really your only option," Dr Nitschke told the Herald Sun.

"It's the only undetectable method of death. It won't even show up at autopsy that you have used that strategy."

AHPRA started an inquiry into Dr Nitschke last November after he made an application to import nembutal for a patient.

The barbiturate nembutal is only used in Australia by vets to euthanase animals and was the centre of another controversial death after it was illegally imported from Mexico.

Article located here. (Behind paywall)