Australia has been rewarded for the high quality of its healthcare systems by an increase in life expectancy - over 80% of people now survive beyond 70. Life beyond this age is often accompanied by ill health and poor quality of life. An increasing imperative is to preserve mental and physical health as long as possible.
One strategy is through 'preventive' medications that now contribute substantially to health expenditure. Are preventive medications we use today such as aspirin always effective or can the negative effects outweigh the positive? Australia is well placed to play an important international role in evaluating these agents in large community based trials.