Introduction: The influence of patient gender on the economic impact of health care has increasingly
been examined in the recent literature. Gender appears to have an impact on healthcare resource consumption,
due to possible differences in the patient’s response to a chosen therapeutic management strategy or to a
Objective: The present work is aimed at collecting and reviewing evidences about the relationship between gender
and economic consumption in health based on worldwide scientific literature published in the last 5 years.
Method: We conducted a narrative review of evidence from an initial pool of 904 articles, selecting information
about gender-specific economic impact in any therapeutic area.
Results: After title, abstract and full text review, 111 articles were relevant to the paper scope.
The reviewed studies seem to be confirming that a difference exists between males and females in the economic
implications of healthcare management and that those differences are particularly relevant for cardiovascular and
metabolic pathologies. Preliminary evidence suggests overall healthcare costs are slightly higher in females than
males, while some specific and non-quantitative items of resource consumption, such as quality of prescriptions,
might favour male patients.
Results do not allow to clearly claiming an overall cost shift towards males or females, since their polarization
varies depending on the considered cost item or event category.
Conclusion: Studies suggested the presence of a gender difference in overall healthcare resource consumption
and costs. Nevertheless, these aspects still lack thorough examination in literature and further analyses would be
required on longer time periods.