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Alexis Chavez

English 120
Professor Lebacqz
December 11, 2016

Dear Website Browsers,

I am posting this proposal to spread awareness among voters about the
amount of control that pharmaceutical companies have on each of our lives. My
goal is to tax the production and distribution of common drugs prescribed to prolong the lives of those terminally ill. I hope that with a bill such as this in place that
it will eventually lead to the hopeful legalization of Euthanasia once the control that
big pharma has on the economy is relieved. This is an extremely crucial matter
because it personally affects the lives of millions of Americans. Imagine having to
watch your loved one suffer and have their live forcefully pro-longed to support the
revenue of a bit pharmaceutical company.
In this proposal, I have included testimonials of those suffering directly at the
expense of the pocket of big pharma companies as well as statistical data to shed
light on the issue of the amount of control these companies have on the rights of
others. I would like you to notice the balance in between emotion and statistics. I
felt that it was important to keep the proposal emotional since it is to gain the votes
of others while giving some logos to back up the emotion.
While reading this proposal, I urge you to keep an open mind and know that
you could be part of something larger. Please enjoy the works and thank you for
taking the time to read this.

Alexis Chavez

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UNM English 120 student

Pharmaceutical Company Profit Taxation Proposal

In the United States, there are currently five states where a patient can choose to die with
dignity. These states are California, Vermont, Montana, Washington, and Oregon. Most of these
states have been legal euthanasia states since the early 2000s and late 1990s, the most recent
additions to the list were added in 2013 and 2015. Although euthanasia is legal in these states,
there are still many hoops to jump through and requirements for eligibility of these services.
Oregon requires that the patient must have made two verbal requests and another in writing
with a witness for the doctors to end his or her life Two doctors also need to agree on the
diagnosis, the prognosis of the disease and the capability of the patient The patient must
personally administer the medication (New Health Guide). Washington has implemented
similar laws but added clarification on the period of the requests which, need to be 15 days
apart and the patient must be suffering from a terminally ill condition with a life expectancy of
six months or less (New Health Guide). In Montana, there are lesser requirements including
that the patient demonstrate competency and can administer the medicine on their own (New
Health Guide). Vermont specifies that the patient have two oral requests and one written request
as well (New Health Guide). California requires the same process as Washington to acquire the
life relieving drugs.
Currently, there are multiple reasons as to why dying with dignity is not legal across the
board, including debates over whether euthanasia is morally right (many of these debates are

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based on public opinion and religion), the ethicality of euthanasia, as well as the immense profit
that the government sees by continuously providing patients with life-prolonging drugs. In the
meantime, amid all of this arguing, debating, and voting there are hopeless individuals battling
detrimental diseases.
Euthanasia provides the necessary option for those who are subject to suffer a cruel death
to choose how much they are willing to put themselves, their families, and their finances
through. However, this choice to die with dignity is not legal in most states and forces families of
those afflicted to watch the slow, certain death of their loved ones unfold. Euthanasia should be
made legal across the United States and those profiting off its illegality taxed to ensure there are
no ulterior motives which fuel the negative stigma that physician assisted suicide has received.
Problem Analysis
The issues of Euthanasia not being legalized in the United States in its entirety, lies with
the main issue, I believe, of profit. Someones disease- particularly life-long or terminal ones- is
a huge payday in the eyes of a pharmaceutical company. In 2015, North American
pharmaceutical companies held almost 50% of the global pharmaceutical market revenue
(President). That number rose since 2012 almost 10% (President). Those numbers are
astoundingly high compared to other countries such as Japan with only about 8% of the market
revenue (President).

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Global Pharma Market Revenue 2015

Latin America



Chart showing the distribution of global pharma market revenue

To a patient facing an illness such as cancer, time is everything (Campbell), however
this time that is promised has a price that is outrageously priced at about $120k a year
(Campbell)! After about 1.5 years of taking this all too profitable drug, the body becomes
immune to it and forces the patient to then go in search of a new, often pricier, prescription

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(Campbell). In fact, a certain drug commonly prescribed to patients suffering Mantle Cell
Carcinoma is known to profit Johnson & Johnson about $6 billion in annual sales (Campbell).
Even those with an incurable illness that want to stop treatment and choose when to pass
on from this world cant because their physician would be arrested, or themselves left with social
stigma. Pharmaceutical companies see them as valued customers who keep coming and paying
repeatedly. If their customers were to stop coming and choose euthanasia, that would leave a
huge gap in their income. Should a company that is supposed to be providing life-saving
medicine really be allowed to gather such a huge profit off its customers non-consensual
suffering and sickness?
These patients are forced to be continuously treated just to live a life they no longer wish
to. Imagine being hooked up and pumped full of these life-saving drugs after you have decided
that you dont want to be remembered this way against your will while your loved ones watch
you shrivel away. This is a huge ethical problem. Is it any more ethical to deny someone your
assistance in their death than to force them to live against their will?
Based on these facts and reasoning, I am proposing that there be laws passed against the
Pharmaceutical companies impeding their financial gains. This law would tax the companies on
their profit from the most commonly prescribed drugs for terminal illnesses: acetaminophen,
morphine, haloperidol, lorazepam, prochlorperazine, and atropine (Sera, Leah, et. Al.).
Acetaminophen has proven since 2014 to be extremely profitable; Zion search analysis 2015
showed in 2014, 149.3 kilotons of the drug were sold making the Global acetaminophen market
worth 801.3 million dollars. A projection done, by Zion search analysis, in 2020 shows that it is

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estimated the Global acetaminophen market will be worth 999.4 million dollars. Per a study done
by Statista in 2011, morphine had a total revenue of 389.6 million dollars. The other medicines
have a similar outcome with extremely high revenues as well. These drugs are not cures, simply
medicines prescribed to help cope with the discomfort form the disease which a patient needs to
live out the rest of their lives which are primarily given to patients already in hospice care (Sear,
Leah, et. Al.).

Chart showing the volume and revenue of the Acetaminophen Market

To get this law passed there would be advertising on the TV, social media, and signs
plastered in each states most populated cities. These advertisements would explain what
euthanasia is and how it benefits patients, then they would describe how pharmaceutical
companies are profiting off their illnesses. Each advertisement would be made to appeal to the
viewer emotionally so they really understand why this issue is important.

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There would also be rallies held with testimonials from the families of those who chose
to die with dignity explaining what an amazing gift it is to choose to have control of your life
even in the last days. Again, these rallies would be aimed to touch the attendees emotionally and
shed light on what could be hindering terminally ill Americans from obtaining peaceful relief.
These rallies and advertisements would ultimately translate into votes to either pass or deny the
presented law. After going through many searches on the internet, I was not able to find any
record of rallies held that did in fact make a positive impact on the efforts toward legalization or
taxation, however, this idea is still very plausible as there are rallies which historically have
made a difference such as the Dr. Martin Luther Kings March on Washington and the Berlin
wall protests (Whipps).
There is one main limitation to this plan- funding. It does cost money as well as resources
to implement advertising to the public. Such a limitation could be helped by setting up a
GoFundMe page or holding several fundraisers, however, there is always the possibility that we
would not be able to reach the monetary goal. Another limitation would be over coming public
opinion. Euthanasia has a very strong negative stigma which stems from others religions as well
as public opinions, so expression of these thoughts could also sway away some voters.
Kim Teske is a 52-year-old woman who has been
diagnosed with Huntingtons disease, a
degenerative, terminal sentence. Many patients that
are diagnosed with this illness have about 25 years
left, however, these years are painful and force the
Kim Teske after not eating for 1 week being
cared for by her sister

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host to watch their body be taken over by the

crippling disease.
I love life and I love me, but I dont want to live like that, and I have a plan states Kim
(Martin). Her plan is to starve herself for two full weeks until she dies of starvation since she
cant afford to fly to a Swedish clinic which assists foreigners in dying. The thought of her
executing this plan horrifies her family. However, Mrs. Teske has been left with no other option
since her doctor refuses to aid her in her efforts to take her own life before the sickness does
(Martin). Kim successfully follows her plan and on day 12 passes away with 3 days of wiggle
room left (Martin). Thankfully she suffered no deliria from the starvation or other painful
consequences, but her family still had to go through the pain of watching their loved one dwindle
away to the point that she was too weak to walk to the window (Martin).
Although moving forward with this proposal may take a few years, it will be worth it.
Imagine a future where no one must suffer more than they wish to, put their families through
more heart ache watching them struggle, and where justice is served to pharmaceutical
companies profiting off sickness. In every case of terminal illness where the patient has chosen
to take control of their lives over the disease, they all wish that there had been the option to Die
with Dignity. There would be more advantages than not with this law being passed. Thank you
for taking the time to read this proposal and to hopefully reflect on how you feel about a business
making money off prolonged sickness.

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Works Cited
Campbell, Kevin, Dr. "The High Cost of Terminal Illness: Big Pharma Cashes In on Hope." Dr.
Kevin Campbell, MD. Dr. Kevin Campbell, MD, 14 Nov. 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2016.
Martin, Sandra. "Kim's Choice: Inside One Woman's Decision to Starve Herself to Death." The
Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.
"New Health Guide." Where Is Euthanasia Legal? New Health Guide, 17 Nov. 2016. Web. 17
Nov. 2016.
President, BCG Senior Vice. "Global Pharma Market Revenue." Statista. N.p., 2016. Web. 15
Nov. 2016.
Sera, Leah, Mary Lynn McPherson, and Holly M. Holmes. "Commonly Prescribed Medications
in a Population of Hospice Patients." The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care.
U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
"Top Pain Drug Sales in the United States 2011-2012 | Statistic." Statista. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov.
2016. <https://www.statista.com/statistics/242678/revenues-of-top-pain-drugs-in-the-us2011-2012/>.

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Whipps, Heather. "10 Historically Significant Political Protests." LiveScience. TechMedia

Network, 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 26 Nov. 2016. <http://www.livescience.com/16153-10significant-political-protests.html>.