A handsome man struts over to the office water cooler with a smirk on his face. When his colleagues ask about his weekend, he replies enthusiastically, with audio muted. A large blue pill appears with the tagline, “Viagra, Ask Your Doctor.” Vibrant, energetic older people are shown swimming, bowling and having a good time. With a twinkle in their eye, they suggest the viewer “ask your doctor” about Celebrex.
Pharmaceutical costs have been rising dramatically over the past three decades, both in real terms and as a component of health care spending. In 2012, Canadians spent $947 per capita a year on pharmaceuticals, up from $147 per capita in 1985.