The US patent system was originally intended to protect the little guy from being trampled upon by a bigger and well funded competitor. In practice, it has moved quite a distance away from this concept. What it has become is a heavily abused monopoly that has allowed the rapacious Big Pharma companies to bilk billions from folks battling severe health conditions. The below opinion piece highlights two of their most abusive tactics.
Keep in mind, that many of the ground breaking pharmaceutical discoveries originated in government funded programs.