HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Pharmaceutical Companies ...

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 04:56 AM

Pharmaceutical Companies 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 used in physician-assisted suicide, doubled the drug’s price last year, one month after California lawmakers proposed legalizing the practice.

Most drug companies justify such hikes by pointing to high research costs. But Grube says that’s not the case with Seconal. It’s been around for 80 years.

“It’s not a complicated thing to make, there’s no research being done on it, there’s no development,” he says. “That to me is unconscionable.”

Comment by Don McCanne of PNHP:
One of my father’s favorite phrases was, “There oughta be a law…” Whenever I heard that, I knew a bit of wisdom with a moral message would follow.

Dad’s last three weeks of life was spent in a hospital and could not have been more miserable (this was in the 1970s, before hospice). He had multiple myeloma and had extensive pathological fractures. When the nurses had to turn him, the pain was intolerable. He did not tolerate the narcotics administered as they aggravated his vomiting and obstipation. As a physician, he understood well his status.

At the last relatively rational conversation I had with him, he said, “Don, there oughta be a law. When the tiny bit of good that happens in a day cannot possibly even begin to compensate for the profound, unrelenting pain and suffering, your physician should be able to authorize the placement of a bottle of sleeping pills on the nightstand next to your bed.”

No such bottle appeared. The agony persisted for several more days, without even any fleeting moments of contentment, before he slipped into his final coma. In spite of my reverence for life, I knew this wasn’t right.

Today’s message on Valeant's price gouging for Seconal - price gouging timed to capitalize on California’s new aid-in-dying law - would normally lead to my usual diatribe on the evils of dysfunctional health market dynamics in the U.S. But this time, it led to tears - mine.

How can we leave our health care system under the control of the rentiers in the medical industrial complex? Dad would have said, “There oughta be a law.” And we know what that law would be - an improved Medicare for all that spends money exclusively for the benefit of patients.

Why am I not out there helping to organize the marches on Washington and our state capitols on behalf of health care justice for all? For that matter, why aren’t you?

3 replies, 1699 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply Pharmaceutical Companies Hiked Price on Aid in Dying Drug (Original post)
eridani Mar 2016 OP
Hoyt Mar 2016 #1
Omaha Steve Mar 2016 #2
Waitsman Mar 2016 #3

Response to eridani (Original post)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 05:43 AM

1. I agree with Dad. Why lawmakers are fine with suffering is beyond me.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to eridani (Original post)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 07:44 AM

2. Why make it a one drug option, Morphine is cheap etc

When I decide to pull my plug thanks to my FTD, it will not be violent. It also won't be Seconal!


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to eridani (Original post)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 08:21 AM

3. Wake up!!!

Back in the sixties when I hung with musicians daily, we never paid more than a dollar for any secobarbital, They came in several colors, strengths, and durations. ALL would kill you if you took to many. Just as OTC Tylenol will do and is one of the most common causes of hospital emergency room visits. What is it going to take before people realize that corporations run this country, not the citizens. WE DO NOT LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY....stop lying to yourselves.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread