The pharmaceutical industry has handed over more than £1 billion to the Department of Health towards the cost of new medicines as part of the voluntary Pharmaceutical Payment Regulation Scheme (PPRS), according to new figures from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

Under the 2014 PPRS, 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 ABPI says it figures also show that, despite this industry funding, NHS spend on branded medicines covered under the PPRS scheme remained essentially flat in the last year - from £2,136 million in 2014/15 to £2,146 million in 2015/16 - as new medicines approved as clinically and cost effective by NICE are not always being adopted by the NHS locally.

According to the Association, over the five years of the current PPRS scheme the industry is expecting to contribute over £3 billion to the DH to help underpin the uptake of new and innovative medicines.

“To ensure we are making the most of this opportunity, we need to sit down with colleagues in the Department of Health and the NHS and establish how to remove barriers, which are currently preventing the NHS from effectively rolling out the use of these new treatments,” stressed Richard Torbett, Executive Director Commercial at ABPI.

"We hope that the Government's independent Accelerated Access Review - which aims to speed up the use of transformative medicines in the NHS - will provide an opportunity to address some of these issues”.