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Terminally Ill Patients Now Have More Options, But Even Death Doesn't Come Cheap

Terminally Ill Patients Now Have More Options, But Even Death Doesn't Come Cheap

California’s controversial new “aid-in-dying” law takes effect this week. The law allows doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who seek such prescriptions.

Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) said the law “ensures Californians have access to humane and compassionate options to limit suffering at the end of life.”

The FDA has reportedly been doing its small part to help doctors provide additional options to terminally ill patients.

Related Link: What To Do When Death Comes Knocking Unexpectedly

The administration has streamlined the paperwork needed from patients for doctors to prescribe experimental “right-to-try” drugs to terminal patients in the 20 states that currently allow such drugs. Right-to-try laws allow terminally ill patients who have exhausted standard treatments to try experimental-stage drugs not yet approved by the FDA.

While many terminally ill patients see aid-in-dying and right-to-try laws as good news, it’s not surprising that there are discouraging headlines from the pharmaceutical industry.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE: VRX), which is currently under investigation by the SEC for its drug pricing policies and accounting, has significantly raised the price of the most commonly-prescribed aid-in-dying drug since acquiring the drug in 2015. In 2009, a lethal dose of Seconal cost less than $200. Valeant now charges $3,000 for one dose of the drug.

Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.


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