Scumbag pharma company Valeant Pharmaceuticals is racing to rival famous pharma boy Martin Shkreli. In light of California’s more favorable view of physician-assisted-suicide, last year the company smelled blood and jumped to double the price of a drug which provides the calmest and most efficient death to a terminal patient.

Seconal was discovered to be an excellent way to kill people painlessly in the 1930’s. Like many drugs during the time and in decades following, it was intended as a sleeping aid and to deal with housewives’ undiagnosed depression. Unfortunately, it killed people pretty consistently when they took too much or combined it with alcohol. It was then repurposed as a way to painlessly kill a terminal patient in states that allowed the practice.

David Grube, a family doctor in Oregon where physician-assisted suicide has been legal for two decades, says that Seconal is the perfect drug for the purposes.

“It works very quickly and very gently. People fall asleep with no complications. It’s a very gentle passing.”

It’s just the sort of way to go for a patient who has struggled against a terminal disease for far too long. But now, Valeant wants those individuals to pay – and pay big – for the privilege of dying.

According to Grube, in 2009 the price of a lethal dose of Seconal was less than $200. Now, the price is $3,000.

Nothing has changed in the medicine, and no science is needed to reformulate or test the drug that has been the exact same for 80 years.

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

Because of the lag in demand for the drug in past decades, there is no generic alternative. If a patient wants to die via pysician-assisted suicide in the states that have legalized it, they must pay the $3,000 pricetag, simply because Valeant decided they wanted to charge that much. Some health insurance companies will cover the price of the drug, but that doesn’t justify the price for those whose insurance won’t cover it.

Patients like Elizabeth Wallner have expressed outrage at the price hike. Wallner has suffered hard and long from stage 4 colon cancer. Now, she is worried about her son and how he will fare after her death. She sees the high price as stealing money from her son.

“You are literally, at that point, taking the money from children. Everything I have, if I’m going to die tomorrow, everything I have will be left to my son who will be 20 years old and almost 100 percent on his own.”

But big pharma doesn’t care about Wallner or her grieving son. They want to make as much as they can so that they can continue to pad their bonuses and give raises to their executives.

The U.S. government must begin to regulate these industries and come down hard those who take advantage of their medication monopoly in order to steal from sick Americans.

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Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at srobinson@ringoffireradio.com