At the conference that I attended this past week in Long Island, the topic of Resveritrol came up. Resveritrol – which is found in red wine – is being touted as a potential fountain of youth. It belongs to a family of compounds that appear to increase the expression of SIR2, a gene implicated in the suppression of age-related diseases. The result – potentially – is longer life.
The speaker made the comment “Future drugs that enhance SIR2 expression, like Resveritrol, could increase the average human lifespan by 50%, from 80 years to 120”. The attendees were asked to think about what we could do with 40 extra healthy years of life.
My thoughts focused on the application of anti-aging medicine to a select group or nation. Who decides who gets this type of drug, anyone who wants it (that would be just about everyone, certainly)? What if it’s expensive? Do only the wealthy get it? Or will society rise up against the wealthy and demand that such a drug be federally subsidized so that all can get access to it? Would such a drug be restricted to wealthy nations only or do all nations get access to the drug?
And what would 40 extra years of life do to the retirement system most have come to rely on (I think it’s called “Social Security”)? What about the concomitant growth in population because of a suddenly reduced mortality rate?
We have already divided drug delivery around the world into more or less have and have not groups, with the poor, and poor countries, getting the orts. As newer and better wonder drugs get invented, at what point does the proletariat uprising begin?