H

ow did every parent’s worst nightmare — the death of a child — spur the creation of an incentive system to turn making drugs for childhood cancer from a high-risk, low-reward gamble to a bet a company might make?

Before Nancy Goodman’s son, Jacob, died in 2009, there were only a few, old drugs at hand to treat him. After he died, she asked why.

“The question I wanted to ask was, ‘Why was it that the drugs that had been given to treatment, why were they 40 years old?’ What can we do to create incentives and requirements to bring private industry to pediatric cancer and to develop drugs for kids with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses?”

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That’s where her quest for change started. Her weapon against inaction? Something called “priority review vouchers.”

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