Pharmaceutical companies can rationalise charging high prices for their drugs because they actually invest 100s of millions if not billions of dollars into research and development (you know ,that thing which makes sure the drug you're selling actually works)? In addition, a lot of them give away millions of dollars worth of vaccines and medicines to poor countries which otherwise couldn't afford them.
Well to be honest, they charge it because they can. They're for profit companies that care about profits. Yes a lot of money goes into research and testing, but they make a ton of money. Most of them have profit margins in excess of 25%. Is that a bad thing? Just depends on the way you look at it.
I don't have problem with western medicine at all, some of the advances made are amazing. I have a problem with doctors who are just around to shove medication down people's throats. Of course not all doctors are like this and some of them are amazing at what they do, but some are just in the business to make money.
I mean take my wife for example. Her cat died when she was 14/15 and so she was sad, school made her go see a psychiatrist who was all "oh god she has major depression, lets prescribe her anti-depressants" so she got prescribed them and took them. They made her an insomniac and when she told her "doctor" about them, what did the good doctor do? Rather than go "let's re-evaluate if you really need them, or let's try changing your meds to one that won't have that side effect on you", he just prescribed her ambien. So now she's completely dependent on sleeping pills and can no longer sleep without them, even if she stays up for nights. Sad thing? She never even really needed those anti-depressants because there's a big difference between being sad and being depressed and well she no longer takes them and she's been feeling a lot better / happier ever since. The sleeping meds however will be a lifelong thing, its just been so long that her doctor thinks that her body has "forgotten" how to naturally sleep. Her doctor has been slowly dosing her off them for over a year now so we'll see if that will help or not.
But that's one of the problems with western healthcare, over-prescription of tons of drugs to people who don't even need it. I think that there was a report a while back that said America consumed more anti-depressants and ADHD medication and just prescription medication in general than the rest of the world...combined.