A systematic review of pharmaceutical price mark-up practice and its implementation

Explor Res Clin Soc Pharm. 2021 May 6;2:100020. doi: 10.1016/j.rcsop.2021.100020. eCollection 2021 Jun.


Pharmaceutical products, apart from being essential for medical treatment, are of high value and heavily regulated to ensure the prices are controlled. This systematic review was conducted to identify pharmaceutical pricing mark-up control measures, specifically in the wholesale and retail sectors. The search method comprised the following databases: PubMed, Science Direct, Springer Link, ProQuest, and EBSCOhost and Google Scholar. The results were filtered systematically from the inception of the aforementioned databases until 23 April 2021. Eligible studies were those focusing on the implementation of pharmaceutical pricing strategies that involve a) mark-ups of medicine, and b) pharmaceutical cost control measures. A total of 13 studies were included in this review: seven covered European countries, four covered Asian countries, one covered the USA and one covered Canada. The main points of discussion in the qualitative synthesis were the implementation of medicine mark-ups, price mark-up regulatory strategies and the outcomes of these regulatory strategies. Our findings suggest that Western countries have a lower mark-up margin, around 4% to 25% of the original purchased price, compared to Asian countries, up to 50%.

Keywords: Cost control; Drug costs; Healthcare costs; Pharmaceutical economics; Prescription fees; Price list.

Publication types

  • Review