Assisted dying Standard of care

SCENZ supported the development, and has oversight, of the Standard of care for medicines.

The Standard of care: Administering assisted dying medication in New Zealand Aotearoa was approved for use by the SCENZ Group and outlines best practice in administering assisted dying medication to ensure safe service delivery for people and whānau.

The Act requires the SCENZ Group to prepare standards of care in relation to the administration of medication s25(3)(g)(i).

The standard is intended to be read with Ngā paerewa Health and disability services standard NZS 8134:2021 (Ngā paerewa).


The medications to be used for assisted dying are safe and effective medicines. Use of these medications for assisted dying is what’s is referred to as an ‘off-label’ use. That means a medicine is prescribed for an indication or a patient group that is not included in the product information.  Prescribing off label is very common.

A centralised pharmacy distribution approach through two district health board pharmacies will enable medications kits to be provided on prescription directly to practitioners delivering the services across the country.    

For safety reasons the detail of the medication regimes will only be provided directly to the practitioners providing the service. Details and names of the medicines will not be made publicly available due to restrictions on promotion and legislative criteria.

Assisted dying is a sensitive topic and may be difficult for some people. If reading this information raises distressing feelings for you, there is support available.

You can call or text 1737 for free to speak to a trained counsellor at any time.

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