Access to medicines: a systematic review of the literature

Nasir Abbas, Syed Shahzad Hasan, Louise Elizabeth Curley, Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Budgetary constraints and the rising cost of new innovative medicines are the key challenges for access to medicines. Multiple research studies explored diverse dimensions of this topic, however, a thorough and detailed review of existing literature on access to medicines in United Kingdom is lacking. Therefore, the objective of this systematic review of literature was to critically review and analyse the literature pertaining to original research on access to medicines issue in the United Kingdom. This review includes two types of studies: (a) UK centric studies (b) studies comparing UK with the other countries.Methods: A systematic search of articles published between Jan 2008 and October 12, 2018 was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines using the following databases: PubMed, Scopus, Science Direct, and specific journals including BMJ, Lancet, Value in Health, Pharmacoeconomics, Pharmacoeconomics Open, Journal of pharmaceutical policy and practice, Health Policy.Results: The searches across all databases and journals resulted in 53 relevant articles. The data extracted from the 53 articles generated key themes. These themes included: Access to Medicines, Health technology assessment (HTA), Pricing and Health technology assessment, Risk Sharing Agreements & Stakeholders involvement/views on reimbursement Process. Subthemes were added under the key themes where applicable.
Conclusions: This review systematically evaluated the current literature and identified variability in access to medicines across countries in UK &EU and across different categories of medicines. Medicine licensing and reimbursement environment is continuously evolving and there are challenges as well as opportunities for learning and collaboration among countries which are at different stages of advancement in their systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1176
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number9
Early online date11 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


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