The pharma industry has paid £207 million to underwrite growth in the branded medicines bill in the first quarter of 2015 as per the UK’s Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme.

Under the 2014 PPRS, the industry agreed to keep NHS expenditure on branded medicines flat for two years and under 2% growth for the following three, in a move designed to secure patients better access to newer, innovative medicines at minimal additional cost to the health service during times of austerity.

However, the growth rate of branded medicines covered by the scheme for the last six months has, at 3.03%, come in under the forecast rate of 3.52%.

“We are not yet seeing the growth in all types of new innovative medicines, which the PPRS was designed to achieve, nor are we yet seeing a fundamental change, breaking down the barriers that get in the way of this happening,” said Alison Clough, acting chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

During 2014 the industry paid a total of £310 million to the Department of Health under the PPRS and is expecting payments in excess of £800 million for 2015. “The NHS needs to ensure that this money allows clinicians to prescribe the medicines that they believe are right for their patients without undue focus on cost. This is currently not happening,” said Clough.