The problem, in brief: Drugs are expensive. This is not because they are expensive to make, but because they are expensive to develop, and because pharmaceutical companies hold patents. The high drug prices mean that many who need them don’t get them, and that many who do get them become impoverished as a result. Drug costs represent a substantial and growing percentage of medical expenditures, regardless of how they are paid for. However, pharmaceutical companies argue (reasonably) that without patent rights, they would have no incentive to conduct the risky, billions of dollars of research necessary to develop the drugs. So, how can we get cheap drugs to the population without slowing down future drug development?