Dying is unequivocally the major cause of death

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Milton Berle once said you know you’re old when you order a three-minute egg and they ask for the money up front. My baby boomer generation is deep in crow’s feet; and in keeping with the relentless demographics of aging in our society, interest in some, any, pharmacological fountain of youth is growing.

PharmaGossip, blogging with a sense of humour from the UK,  has posted a splendid send-up of Big Pharma propaganda to the anxiously aging. Basing itself on a report from an industry blog called BNET Pharma, it skewers the questionable drug marketing practices we have come to loathe and vituperate.

Here’s how it begins:

Phoni told the WSJ that it did not know about a study published last week in Nature that claims the life expectancy of mice was increased 9 – 14 percent if they took Heapamunee, a drug Phoni markets to suppress the immune system so that organ transplants won’t be rejected.

A Phoni spokesman called it an “interesting preclinical study” and said that the company had only just become aware of the findings.

“Phoni have only just acquired Heapamunee as a result of our hostile takeover of Whyus,” said Phoni’s President of Global Marketing, Rich Pillager, “and so we’re still working out just what assets we need to strip out of the company before we shut it down. However, following the Nature study, our marketing team is already up to speed on the case.”

Rich Pillager is a wonderful creation, worthy of Martin Amis in his eighties heyday. You can be sure that the Rich Pillagers of the world are working night and day concocting “anti-aging” drugs while convincing us that becoming superannuated is a disease that can best be treated with their magical elixir in a capsule.

PharmaGossip also makes fun of Aubrey de Grey (“Aubrey de Nutcase”), a death-defying British gerontologist and self-advertiser, only slightly altering a real quote of his: “Dying is unequivocally the major cause of death in the industrialized world and a perfectly legitimate target of medical intervention.”

De Grey strikes me as the kind of bloke who reads the obituaries every day and can’t understand why people die in alphabetical order. “It’s time to break out of our denial about aging,” he admonishes. I didn’t know I was in denial. Like Woody Allen, I’m not afraid of death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens. But I see how it’s pharmamarketing’s prime directive to feed my fears about that clean-sweeping scythe. Is it really true that when you get old your broad mind changes places with your narrow waist? Not at all. Stupidity, greed, deceit, and sheer, undiluted wankery know no age barriers.

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