A new financial agreement with the UK government will see pharmaceutical companies bring forward payments of around £200 million to help pay for NHS patients’ medicines in 2016.

The payments are part of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) that has seen pharma pay back over £1 billion to the government since 2014.

With this £200million of the estimated payments for 2017 and 2018 brought forward to 2016, the industry will contribute around £550 million in 2016 to help the government deliver its NHS funding commitment to NHS chief executive Simon Steven's Five Year Forward View.

The announcement by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry was made on the same day as the pharmaceutical industry's third payment in 2015 of £202million, bringing 2015's total contribution to £619million. Over the five years of the PPRS, the industry expects to pay a total of £3billion back to the government.

ABPI acting CEO, Alison Clough said: “By agreeing to bring forward these payments, our industry is showing its commitment to patients so they get the medicines they need and also to improving the flow of new and innovative medicines into the NHS. We know that access to new medicines is patchy across the UK and that there are still barriers in the system.

“The PPRS is unique; combined with the UK having some of the lowest costs for medicines in Europe it provides us with a real opportunity to use new medicines to help improve health outcomes.  We hope today's agreement will help us to make faster progress,” said Clough.