I have begun research for an editorial that I hope to complete in the next few weeks. (I am new to writing editorials so the process is slow and painful, but productive) My intention is to parallel the rise of cost of healthcare (in GDP) to the rise of cost of the personal computer (in GDP). My main argument is that the cost of healthcare has increased in the last 40-50 years because the quality of care has increase along with it; the same can be said for PC's.
Anyway, my first wave of research was to show that even the last few years have shown a dramatic increase in the quality of medicine. I found a list of the world's top selling drugs from Forbes.com and found when they were patented (assuming that this was close to their market release date). Some of the top drugs today are lipitor, zyrtec, plavix, nexium, etc... and of the top ten, nine were patented within the last 15 years. That is amazing to think about.
This means that a decade and a half ago, the best selling (and by association the most effective at improving quality/quantity of life) drugs had not been discovered yet.
My motivation for writing this article was a comment that my grandmother used to make: "isn't it terrible that some people can't afford prescription drugs." She, herself, requires an incredible amount of expensive drugs for various health issues. It would be much more terrible if the drugs didn't exist at all.