The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has announced the third-quarter payment from the sector of £79 million paid to the Department of Health to underwrite the higher-than-forecast growth of the medicines bill under the 2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme.

The growth rate of the branded medicines in the scheme in the first three quarters of 2014 is 5.93% - higher than the 3.87% original joint forecast. Based on this, the DoH has confirmed that the 2015 payment percentage will be 10.36% and for 2016-2018 would be 15% each year. This year to date, the pharma industry has paid £229 million.

Stephen Whitehead, ABPI chief executive, said that although the increased spend demonstrates a trend towards growth in the use of drugs, “we know that this growth is not in new, innovative medicines but in older medicines and specialised commissioning”.
He added that in the PPRS, “there are also a number of commitments to improve the use of innovative medicines which are currently not being met. We are seeking a fair level of funding and growth in all therapy areas and care settings”. Mr Whitehead concluded by saying that “we are working with the Department of Health, NHS England and government to ensure action in key areas such as NICE reform, the Cancer Drugs Fund and medicines optimisation to maximise the benefits of the PPRS so that patients can get the right medicine at the right time”.

“Recognising the financial challenges facing the NHS”, the pharmaceutical industry agreed to help keep the latter’s expenditure on branded drugs for two years and within “agreed controlled growth levels” for a further three under the five-year PPRS which came into force at the start of the year.