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Right-to-Die Group Comes Up With New, Cheaper Medication

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SEATTLE (AP) — Right-to-die advocates in Washington state have come up with a cheaper, alternative mixture of medication to help terminally ill patients end their lives after a drug company abruptly doubled the price commonly used medication.

The Seattle Times reports that doctors with the End of Life Washington advocacy group concocted the alternative for about $500.

Dr. Robert Wood, a University of Washington researcher who volunteers with the group, says the mixture works just as well.

Doctors in Oregon have also adopted the drug mixture. And in California, where a similar law takes effect later this year, officials are considering it as well.

The issue came up last year when Valeant Pharmaceuticals International of Quebec acquired the rights to Seconal, the trade name of secobarbital sodium, the most commonly prescribed drug used by terminally ill patients to end their lives under the law. The firm doubled the cost, from $1,500 to more than $3,000.