I’m fascinated by priority review vouchers. The concept is a creative new mechanism that’s capturing a lot of people’s attention at the PGH conference. And how the vouchers came into being is even more fascinating. Basically, the vouchers are a means of encouraging R&D for conditions that, otherwise, would be largely ignored - you know, those conditions that affect the 1 billion “forgotten people” I blogged about yesterday. These vouchers provide incentives for drug makers to focus more research efforts on neglected diseases. The idea originated out of Duke University in March 2006 by a group of professors. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and his colleague from the other side of the aisle, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) were intrigued by the concept, so intrigued in fact that within a mere 18 months (no, that’s not a typo), the original proposal was enacted into law. I’ve lived in Washington for quite a while now and I love politics. But nothing happens quickly in Washington, I mean nothing. So that fact that priority review vouchers went from proposal to law in less than two years is, well, a miracle!