In Denmark, the total sale of medicine increased from 3.1 billion Danish crowns in 1981 to 5.9 billion Danish crowns in 1990. This increase of 91% must be seen in relation to changes in the consumer price index which increased by 77% during the same period. The greatest increase was observed in the sale of antacids and preparations for the treatment of peptic ulceration (189%), drugs for asthma (225%) and antihypertensive drugs (409%). Subdivision of the group of antihypertensive agents reveals an explosive increase in the sale of calcium-blockers (in 1990: a total of 158 million Danish crowns) and angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE)-inhibitors (in 1990: 100 million Danish crowns). Both of these therapeutic principles had been introduced in the nineteen eighties. During the same period, slighter decreases were observed in the consumption of diuretics (194 million Danish crowns in 1990) and beta-blockers (204 million Danish crowns in 1990). This development in the sales figures documents an alteration in the patterns of prescription by practitioners. It must, however, be emphasized that the drugs mentioned here have several different therapeutic indications, some of which were first established during the above mentioned decade. No randomized investigations in the treatment of hypertension are available in which recent therapeutic principles with calcium-blockers and ACE-inhibitors were compared with the previously well tested therapeutic principles involved in diuretics and beta-blockers.