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Despite objections from his own regulators, President Barack Obama Friday signed into law a bill that will briefly extend a voucher program that rewards drug makers for rare pediatric medicines.

As a result, the program will run through Dec. 31 while Congress attempts to further extend the effort for another few years. The focus will now turn to tucking such an extension into the 21st Century Cures Act, a sweeping piece of health care legislation that must still be negotiated by the House and Senate.


“This is important because if he hadn’t signed this extension, there would have been a gap in the program,” said Nancy Goodman, who is executive director of Kids v Cancer, a patient advocacy group. “And we need to maintain incentives for companies to develop these types of drugs.”

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  • Easy solution – either the selling company pays 30% as a short term gain tax (or user fee to fund the expedited review) or the purchasing company is blocked from deducting the price of the voucher from taxable revenue. After all, it’s a lottery ticket either way.

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