Can we please stop the myth that pharmaceutical patents are the great example for justification of patents.
The pharmaceutical industry is probably so "evil" patent trolls pale in comparison.
1. Pretty much all Pharma companies have significantly higher marketing than R&D budgets (that's not evil, but still proves a point).
2. They are also one of the most profitable industries, so doesn't seem like they really need patents.
3. They research is mainly on the "diseases" of the rich. For example the amount of money they invest into researching a cure for Malaria pales compared to the research into something like diet pills
4. They have been the main companies behind the push to extend patentability, who do you think are the main industry who are pushing ACTA?
5. They are also the companies who are the main drivers behind the US government pushing draconian trade agreements, onto developing nations. Which often leaves the poor in these countries without access to cheap generics.
6. They are extensively abusing the patent system, by creating perpetual patents, i.e. when a patent expires they apply for a new patent where some compound is slightly changed, the trick is you can't make the old patented medicine, without violating the new patent.
7. They have been caught multiple times paying for favourable publications/studies.
8. Their patents actually only start after FDA approval, so they possibly get 20+x years of patent time. Even worse, as part of TRIPS (I think it was), this applies again to other countries. So they have FDA approval in the US, but they think country X (usually a developing nation) is not wealthy enough, so they don't apply for approval there. Now at a later state country X has become wealthier and they apply for approval, they get 20 years of patent. So even if the patent has expired in the US, they people in country X cannot get the cheap generics, because in their country the patent is still valid.
If you start reading up on what BigPharma is doing, it just makes you sick.