We need new funding methods to prevent healthcare from becoming increasingly inaccessible. Patents, creating a temporary monopoly, have worked well as incentive for companies to create new medicines. However, today medicines are created that even healthcare systems in modern developed countries cannot pay for. To prevent healthcare from become divisive, we need to revamp this system where it fails us.
Medicines that are too expensive, should not be awarded a patent. This effectively prevents the discovery in the first place. We as an society have the power to decide that it is too early for a medicine, when under a patent it becomes too expensive.
And although it might not be necessary to strike down all patent law, offering prizes can be an alternative. There could be a competition to create a medicine for an ailment, with a significant prize of money on offer. The winning company gets compensated for its efforts, and the medicine can thereafter be sold for a competitive prize. The X Prize Foundation offers examples of how such competition could work.
Restricting patents to accessible medicines does not necessarily lead to less medical research either. Pharmaceutical companies under this new regime get an incentive to focus their research on medicines (or prizes) that keep healthcare accessible for everyone.