The UK pharmaceutical industry has now contributed £1.3 billion to underwrite growth in the NHS medicines bill, but overall spend remains flat.

Companies who are voluntarily signed up to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) have handed over £367 million between September 2015 and March 2016, taking total payments to £1.296 billion.

Under the 2014 PPRS, the industry agreed to pay a rebate when NHS spend on branded medicines exceeds pre-agreed growth rates, to help support use of innovative new treatments at minimal cost.

But despite this industry funding, NHS spend on branded medicines covered under the scheme has remained flat over the six-month period, as new medicines approved as clinically and cost effective by NICE are not always adopted by the NHS locally.

"Medicines spend under the PPRS is lower than anticipated when the scheme began, however the scheme remains important overall in helping the Department of Health and the NHS budget for medicines," noted David Watson, Director of Pricing and PPRS at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.