"Either you've done the research and are making it publicly available to all of mankind - or you are keeping it for yourself and only offering the benefits of the research to the select individuals who can afford it."
By patenting the invention, you are (1) motiviating a company to fund the research, (2) publishing the designs for your inventino, and (3) ensuring that after about 20 years anyone will be free to follow those designs with or without your approval or profit.
That may not do as much for mankind as you would like to think we would get were everyone an altruist, but in the real world the alternative is that the invention waits uninvented. (You are not going to create a bioengineered cancer drug without expensive equipment - i.e. without deep pockets funding you.)
Now specifically talking about medical research in the U.S., I do firmly believe the system is broken - but that would be the healthcare system, not the patent system. The wide disparity between brand and generic pricing for drugs is a symptom of a broader problem, and trying to skip the brand phase for new medicines will only change symptoms without addressing the root cause.
(And no, I'm not suggesting that a so-called public option solves it either... but I digress.)
The Nobel Prize should recognize and honor the acheivement, end of story. The acheivement will further mankind in due course.