Cheaper cocktail drives down cost of physician-assisted suicide

by Gregory Tomlin, |
Brittany Maynard (L) is pictured with her husband Dan Diaz in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters November 3, 2014. Maynard chose physician-assisted suicide as her manner of death in 2015 after being diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. Now, physicians in Oregon and Washington say they've developed a cheaper drug for euthanasia. See story below. | REUTERS/ via Reuters

SEATTLE (Christian Examiner) – A group of doctors in the American Northwest has created a new drug cocktail to lower the price of physician-assisted suicide, or euthanasia, after a Canadian company doubled the price of its life-ending drug.

According to a report in the Seattle Times April 2, the new price of the euthanasia drug provided by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International of Quebec climbed to more than $3,000 per dose (and, in some cases, up to $5,000).

Now death can be had for the bargain-basement price of $500 after doctors with End of Life Washington (ELW) concocted the potion. Physicians who conduct assisted suicide note that the new drug is as effective as Seconal, or secorbarbital sodium, the sedative used in most cases of euthanasia.

"We thought we should concoct an alternative that would work as well. ... It does work as well," said Robert Wood, an HIV/AIDS researcher with the University of Washington. He now serves as a volunteer with ELW.

Doctors in Oregon have opted for the cheaper alternative, and it will also likely be used when California's physician-assisted suicide law goes into effect later this year.

Physician-assisted suicide became a popular point of discussion when Brittany Maynard chose to end her own life with the help of her doctor in Oregon. She was suffering from what doctors had said was incurable cancer.