Objectives: The aim of this study was to summarize and assess economic evaluations of poison centers (PCs) from the perspectives of society, the payer, and the healthcare system.
Methods: A systematic review was performed to identify complete economic evaluations regardless of the language or publication status. Two reviewers evaluated the abstracts for eligibility, extracted the data, and assessed the study quality using a standardized tool.
Results: In total, 422 non-duplicated studies were retrieved, but only nine met the eligibility criteria. Five of the eligible studies were published in the 1990s, and four were published in the 2000s. Six studies met at least seven of ten quality criteria. In all studies, the presence of PCs was compared with a scenario of their absence. Eight studies used cost–benefit analyses and one used a cost-effectiveness approach. The cost–benefit ratios ranged from 0.76 to 7.67, which indicates that each United States dollar (USD) spent on poison centers can save almost 8 USD on medical spending. A cost-effectiveness analysis showed that each successful outcome achieved by a PC avoids a minimum of 12,000 USD to 56,000 USD in other healthcare spending.
Conclusions: The data in our review show that PCs are economically viable. PCs improve the efficiency of healthcare expenditure and contribute to the sustainability of the healthcare system. An investment in PCs is a rational public health policy approach that contrasts the current trend of reducing spending on PCs.