The minister, Els Borst, said she would not oppose the suicide pill ``provided it will only apply to very old people who are done with life,'' even if they are physically healthy.
The suggestion goes one step farther than the doctor-assisted suicide permitted under legislation approved on Tuesday in the upper house of parliament, which is limited to the severely ill.
In an interview published in the weekend edition of the NRC Handelsblad newspaper, Borst said she was not proposing legislation now, but only beginning what she hoped would be a broad discussion.
``I used to know two people, 95 years old, who were really sick of life. They were completely bored, but unfortunately they weren't bored to death. Because that's what they really wanted,'' Borst was quoted as saying.
``They didn't want the doctor to kill them, they wanted to do it themselves as a last act of will power,'' said Borst, who is 69.
The bill approved Tuesday allows doctors to end the lives of patients who are suffering unbearably with no hope of recovery. They must follow by strict guidelines to determine whether to abide by a patient's request to die.
The law, which passed the lower house last November, takes effect after it is signed by Queen Beatrix and published in legal journals.