Interesting approach to the subject of assisted dying. I first wrote about ethical issues in terminal health care back in the early 90’s when Dr. Kevorkian was just starting to make headlines. No states had legislation permitting it at that point in time. This spring Hawaii became the 7th state in this country to legalize it.
Your discussion of the stakeholders brought up some interesting aspects of the matter that I had not considered. When you talk about how high the price of the med to help “terminate the suffering patient”… I had no idea. But of course it makes sense they would have a high price because there are not a whole lot of buyers, and no repeat buyers. They might even justify the price so that it gets limited distribution.
On the other hand, consider our opioid epidemic. Opioids are very cheap today, perhaps in part because addicts are easy repeat business. According to a NY Times story yesterday Minnesota became the 26th state this year to sue Purdue Pharma, an opioid manufacturer.*
This paragraph in another NY Times story caught my eye: “The aggressive marketing of opioids by Purdue Pharma and others eased some of that pain — and helped create a generation of addicts, tens of thousands of whom die each year. Opioids are the third most common drugs found in the systems of suicides, after alcohol and anti-anxiety medications like Xanax, the C.D.C. reported.”**
As for the patients who are stakeholders, I suspect the primary reason is to end meaningless suffering. According to a British study that I can’t put my fingers on at the moment, the U.S. lags other advanced countries when it comes to palliative care. In other words, there is more we could do to alleviate suffering than we currently allow or do.
As the Boomer generation enters its twilight years, these issues will continue to be in the forefront of more peoples’ minds. Thank you for adding your insights and perspective.
*Debilzan, Maddie. “State sues opioid maker Purdue Pharma, saying it violated consumer-fraud laws.” Pioneer Press. 2 July 2018.
**Carey, Benedict. “How Suicide Quietly Morphed Into a Public Health Crisis.” NY Times, 8 June 2018.