Although, it can be argued that patents cause the Medical industry to focus on drugs instead of preventative medicine.
If you have a drug that treats a condition at a cost of $100/month, and a profit of $40/month and the average usage is 10 years that treatment would generate an average of 48k profit per patient, and if the condition effects one million people a year you are looking at a predictable 4.8 billion a year in profit, with an expected profit of 96 billion during the period of patent protection and additional residual profits after the protection lapses. All that for an ante of about 45 million dollars. or an ROI of 200,000% over 25 years. (assuming that the approval process takes about 5 years, which is on the short, side but the 45 million is spread over 3 rounds of clinical trials).
While the numbers I pulled out were not based on any particular drug the are somewhat representative of the current drug development model in the US, with some anti psychotic and AIDS related drugs fetching over $1,000 a month per patient while identical generics are priced under $30 per month per patient.
The result of the current economic incentives of patented medicine has been a huge amount of research into drugs that people will have to pay for for as long as possible, with less investment into preventative measures.
The upside of this type of investment is that a lot of the failures in the hunt for a cure for aids have shown real promise for a treatment for cancer, and it has encouraged private investment in medicine.
The downside is that the potential financial upside of the treatment is considered very early in medical research.
The irony of the current situation is that it is in many ways a more extreme version of the worst case scenario painted by the critics of universal health care.