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Amid rising concern over antibiotic resistance, a battle is brewing in Europe over a proposal to offer vouchers to companies as an incentive to develop new treatments, a controversial idea has already raised objections from more than a dozen members of the European Union.

The basic premise is straightforward. A company that wins regulatory approval for a novel antibiotic gets a voucher that can then be used to extend for one year the exclusive rights to the results of clinical trial data for another of its medicines. As an alternative, the drug maker could sell the voucher to another pharmaceutical company.

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