I'm not sure if you've been following the ebola outbreak in Africa that's killed close to a thousand people at this point, but one interesting element is that a couple of Americans were treated with an experimental drug which seems to have improved their prognosis quite dramatically. The Telegraph asserted that:
... health workers said drugs that could fight Ebola are not particularly complicated but pharmaceutical firms see no economic reason to invest in making them because the virus’ few victims are poor Africans. ... A lot of that has to do with what Prof John Ashton, Britain’s leading public health doctor, termed the “moral bankruptcy” of profit-driven drugs developers.
I've read through a number of articles on the ebola outbreak, but the pointer to the particular article above came via Alex Tabarrok. There he made a point that seems worth repeating:
The logic of profit-driven drug developers is no different than the logic of profit driving automobile manufactures. It isn’t profitable to make cars for people who can’t afford them but the auto firms are rarely called morally bankrupt for not giving cars away to the poor. Moreover, it’s not at all obvious why the burden of producing unprofitable drugs should fall on the drug manufacturers. To the extent that there is an ethical case for developing drugs for the poor it’s a burden that falls on all of us.
It's unclear to me why we should require companies in certain industries to operate as charities if such standards aren't applied to other sectors. It does seem to me a good case for (a) private charity be it by drug companies or any other person or corporation willing to supply funds, (b) some level of government involvement, and (c) the possibility of reducing testing standards such that investing in this area becomes more promising - i.e. per the linked blog post, FDA testing standards for new drugs seem to be resulting in more ebola deaths at present rather than fewer.