Cost varies based on medication type and availability as well as the protocol used (additional medications must be consumed prior to the lethal medications at an extra cost). The following are only estimates as prices and availability change. The actual prescription depends on the physician’s assessment.
Pentobarbital in liquid form cost about $500 until about 2012, when the price rose to between $15,000 and $25,000. The price increase was caused by the European Union’s ban on exports to the US because of the drug being used in capital punishment, a practice that is illegal and deemed deplorable there; many international pharmaceutical companies don’t export the drug to the United States for the same reason. Users then switched to the powdered form, which cost between $400 and $500.
The dose of secobarbital (brand name Seconal) prescribed under Death with Dignity laws costs $3,000 to $5,000.
Due to the increase in the cost of Seconal, alternate mixtures of medications has been developed by physicians in Washington state. The phenobarbital/chloral hydrate/morphine sulfate mix produces a lethal dose that is similar in effect to Seconal. The cost of this alternate mix is approximately $450 to $500. A second alternative, consisting of morphine sulfate, Propranolol (Inderal), Diazepam (Valium), Digoxin and a buffer suspension costs about $600. A compounding pharmacy will need to prepare each mixture.
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