The Swiss suicide facility Dignitas is facing a legal investigation after it assisted the suicide of a man suffering from depression.
The Swiss law on assisted suicide only permits the practice in the case of terminal illness. Lobby groups in the UK want a similar law here.
Pro-life groups have warned that the death of the Romanian man, Andrei Haber, was “shocking but to be expected” as a consequence of any law allowing assisted suicide.
Mr Haber emailed friends before his death announcing that he was going to commit suicide using sedatives provided by the clinic.
“When you read these words, I will no longer be living,” he wrote. “Forget me as soon as possible and be happy, as much as possible.”
Paul Tauberg, one of Mr Haber’s friends, said: “It made me angry. I was indignant, and I still am, that somebody actually helped him with this instead of treating him and preventing him.”
Dr Rob George, a spokesman for the Care Not Killing alliance, said: “It’s shocking but to be expected.
“A depressed person may be someone who wants actually to live in the long term, and it is exactly the risk we have with any legislature where euthanasia and assisted suicide is legal.”
Researchers in the US state of Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, found last year that some patients seeking assisted suicide met the criteria for depression but were still prescribed lethal drugs.
It is expected that an attempt will be made to weaken the current ban on assisted suicide while the Coroners and Justice Bill is in its House of Lords stages.