For those brave enough to come out and claim that the UK is becoming a nanny state, there claims have been vindicated! You only have to look daily in the press to see the country has gone mad. Take, for instance, today's news that a super pill has been invented that promises to lower heart disease and strokes in people over the age of fifty. Then look at the reasons why the Government are holding back from making it available and, contrary to popular belief, it's not about the money.
For life insurance companies, some of their biggest payouts come from heart disease, strokes and Alzheimer's, all claimed for under the umbrella term of critical illness. Life insurance firms are keen for us all to look after our health and as such, will reward those that do with lower life insurance premiums. But do they have a right to say where we draw the line in how much we are interfering with nature?
British scientists have developed the findings of Japanese scientists from the 1970's. Their discovery of statins and their amazing health benefits have continued to be used to aid many illness but have truly come to the front in the 'polypill' that scientists now want made available to the British population.
The polypill contains the mega important statins that inhibit the production of enzymes that lead to the production of 'bad' cholesterol. They also act as anti-inflammatories making them an excellent tool in the fight against heart disease and even Alzheimer's.
These miracle pills also contain a combination of chemicals that lower cholesterol and blood pressure and could possibly reduce heart disease by ninety per cent and incidents of stroke by up to eighty per cent.
All this treatment in one easy daily pill at a ridiculously low price of less than 1 pounds a day seems unbelievable but it is so. However, not everyone is keen to see it out on the open market. These protestors are concerned that life insurance companies will try to force everyone over the age of fifty to take these tablets even if they don't want to, to reduce their costs. Surely this is where Government legislation would come in to stop them doing so? Surely it's not right to prevent the good health of millions because of the notion that some companies will see it as a money maker?
And we are talking large figures of people that could be helped here. To provide this pill to everybody over the age of fifty in the UK would cost the NHS 6 pounds billion a year but, conversely, would save them 14 pounds billion by not having to treat the 200,000 people who suffer cardiovascular disease every year.
There is some concern from the anti-miracle pill lobbyists who say that side effects could kill some people. Unfortunately, bad news sells and if deaths occurred they would be publicised much quicker than the lives that were saved, possibly causing panic among users. It has also been claimed that people may not take the pill properly and this could cause complications along with those who mix their drugs.
And this is exactly my point. Instead of the hundreds of thousands of lives that could be saved every year we worry about those who do not have the sense to keep to their simple, given instructions on how to take their one pill a day. The nanny state rules again.
On top of this, do life insurance companies take into account the fact that short people are more prone to Alzheimer's than taller people? Not quite sure why but apparently it is a recognised finding among those in the know. I'm certain that most people, whatever their stature, could manage to pop one pill a day to increase the length of their lives.
Alcohol consumption is frowned on by life insurance companies but as most of us wine drinkers have known for a long time, it is good for us. No, I'm not talking about it being the only way to wind down at the end of the day! I'm talking about a glass of red wine, particularly the Sardinian variety, being able to protect you against heart disease, cancer and strokes. Not sure if it works for Alzheimer's as, after a few glasses, I have a dreadful memory!
Even white and rose wine have health benefits not to be sniffed at. Is it too much to ask that we pop one pill and down a couple of glasses of wine a day to elongate our lives without being told we might not be able to do it properly?
Insurance expert Catherine Harvey looks at the effects science has on life insurance premiums.