Pharmaceutical Company Has Hiked Price on Aid-in-Dying Drug

When California’s aid-in-dying law takes effect this June, terminally ill patients who decide to end their lives could be faced with a hefty bill for the lethal medication. It retails for more than $3,000. Valeant Pharmaceuticals, the company that makes the drug most commonly prescribed by physicians to aid patients who want to end their lives, doubled the drug’s price last year, one month after California lawmakers proposed legalizing the practice. “It’s just pharmaceutical company greed,” said David Grube, a retired a family doctor in Oregon, where physician-assisted death has been legal for 20 years. The drug is Seconal, or secobarbital, its generic name. Originally developed in the 1930s as a sleeping pill, it fell out of favor when people died from taking too much or from taking it in combination with alcohol. In 2009, Grube remembers the price of a lethal dose of Seconal — 100 capsules — was less than $200. During the next six years, it shot up to $1,500, according to drug price databases Medi-Span and First Databank. Then Valeant bought Seconal last February and immediately doubled the price to $3,000.

Source/more: Kaiser Health News

 

David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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