What's a "fair" profit?

U.S. Won’t Override AIDS Drug Patents (washingtonpost.com): Abbott Laboratories quintupled the price of its AIDS drug Norvir late last year–and NIH says it’s okay. Patient groups and some members of Congress called the move price-gouging and “pushed the NIH to intervene by overriding Abbott’s patents, since Norvir’s discovery was partially funded by taxpayer dollars.”

How does a reasonable person take sides on an ethical issue where the law says there’s no problem with pricing that’s drastically uneven (only the U.S. has the 5-times-the-price problem) and customers’ lives are at stake? Maybe there’s a middle road for both. The manufacturer could show a willingness to compromise; the government could offer legislative or other interventions to help the manufacturer make a fair profit while taking steps to make the drug more accessible.

If tax money helped develop it, why not use tax money to help get it to the people who need it?