The Lancet has just published a report that indicates that the humble aspirin may in fact be more useful to our health than we ever imagined.

Most people have used it sometime during their lives to combat the odd cold or hangover.

More recently its blood thinning properties have been recognised and utilised for helping people with cardiac problems.

Now it is claimed that a single daily low dose taken with a glass of milk (which enhances the effect) is the easiest way to avoid dying from the most common forms of cancer. Bit you have to take it consistently for at least five years to benefit from the almost astonishing health benefits. One 75mg dose a day can reduce death by cancer between 20% and 30%!

However, the drug is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and does have adverse reactions associated with it so it should be taken knowing the risks. For example, it is thought that 21% of people who take NSAIDs could end up being induced with asthma. There are also other potential side effects. From Wiki – "The main undesirable side effects of aspirin are gastrointestinal ulcers, stomach bleeding, and tinnitus, especially in higher doses. In children and adolescents, aspirin is no longer used to control flu-like symptoms or the symptoms of chickenpox or other viral illnesses, because of the risk of Reye's syndrome." But because of the newly discovered cancer connection the benefits might be viewed by the medical fraternity as outweighing the risks.

Apart from the few press reports little has been seen of this potential life and money saver. It will keep people out of hospitals and save the usage of radiology, radiography and radiotherapy resources. Fewer expensive scanners to buy service and man.

Now if this drug had just been discovered you could bet that the pharmaceutical company involved would instigate wall to wall media and advertising coverage as well as pushing on all GPs and hospitals. With an eye watering associated cost of course.

But aspirin is now a freely available generic drug so no-one's going to make a fortune from it. It goes for pennies at the corner shop.

So I would assume that the pharma companies have task forces looking at how aspirin can be mixed with other drugs (especially to combat the side effects) so they can patent them and slap a huge price tag on them. Look at the staggering profit to be made from just about every adult in the country taking it daily for a minimum of 5 years.

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