The pharmaceutical industry has paid £209 million to underwrite growth in the UK the medicines bill during the second quarter of this year, pushing the total payment made during 2015 to £416 million, but has slammed the slow uptake of new therapies. 

Under the 2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme, the industry agreed to pay a rebate when National Health Service spend on branded medicines goes above pre-agreed growth rates, to help support use of innovative new treatments at minimal cost.

But the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry says it is “deeply concerned” that the growth rate of branded medicines was just 2.41% in the second quarter - half the rate seen in 2014 - which suggests patients are still losing out.

“Whilst industry is underwriting the medicines bill, patients are still not getting access to the right medicines at the right time,” said David Watson, the ABPI’s director of pricing and reimbursement. 

“The UK already lags behind the rest of Europe in investing in medicines, based on the expenditure on pharmaceuticals per person,” and the figures “suggest that this could be worsening”, he warned.

The industry said it is anticipating payments to the Department of Health totalling £800 million for 2015.