Dramatic cost increases are driving the push to control pharmaceutical expenditures. Drug costs in Canada have been rising more rapidly than other health care expenditures. Lost in the frenzied debate over how to control drug costs is the question of whether an increase in the percentage of the health care budget going to drugs represents cost-effective use of the money available. It may be that spending more money on drugs produces proportionately greater savings in areas like hospital expenditures. This question cannot be answered without knowledge of how appropriately physicians are prescribing them and measurement of outcomes from different forms of therapy (e.g., hospitalization versus pharmacotherapy). So far, this type of information is distinctly lacking in the Canadian context.