The pharmaceutical industry has paid £81 million to underwrite the increase in the medicines bill under the 2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme, pushing the total payment made during 2014 to £310 million.

The growth rate of branded medicines included in the PPRS for the full year was 5.2%, overshooting the original joint forecast of 3.87%.

But while increased use of branded medicines is “encouraging”, the industry “would still like to see equal access for patients to all medicines across care sectors,” the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said.

“There is significant disparity of growth across the primary and secondary care settings as well as between different therapy areas,” noted Alison Clough, ABPI’s Executive Director Commercial, and said the Association is working “to ensure that the barriers to the use of new medicines in all care settings are removed and that NICE appropriately assesses medicines so that ring-fenced funds for selected therapy areas are not needed”.