Background: Simulated patient method has been frequently utilised to explore the healthcare provider’s behaviour, services information, and its quality of services. This study was aimed to systematically identify and review studies conducted using simulated client/patients that examine medicine selling prices in various healthcare settings.

Method: We searched Pubmed, OVID, Scopus, Ebsco (Medline) and ProQuest for papers reporting on simulated patient studies, specifying drug or pharmaceutical pricings. Randomized controlled trials, non-randomized controlled trials, longitudinal studies, cohort or case–control studies, and descriptive studies were included.

Results: A total of 19 papers from 13 countries from all regions of the world were included in this systematic review. Information on certain prescription and non-prescription drugs such as buprenorphine, methadone and antibiotics were reported in four studies. Most healthcare facilities adhere to prescribed selling prices, according to the medicine selling price trend examined in this study. Only around half of the research found that medicine prices were higher than the typical selling price. Some countries that practise price control policies were found to have higher drug selling prices than those that do not.

Conclusion: Most healthcare facilities adhered to the recommended selling price. Less than half of the studies have shown that the prices of drugs sold were higher than the standard selling price. Some countries that practise price control policies were found to have higher drug selling price than those that do not practise them.

Keywords: Simulated patient, mysterious buyer, undercover actor, drug cost, affordability, price control


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