ST-elevation myocardial infarction patients presenting at non-percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)-capable hospitals often need to be transferred for primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI). This increases time to revascularization, leading to increased risk of in-hospital mortality. With recent focus on total ischemic time rather than door-to-balloon time as the principal determinant of outcomes in ST-elevation myocardial infarction patients, pharmacoinvasive therapy (PIT) has gained attention as a possible improvement over PPCI in patients requiring transfer. Our objective was to observe how PIT stands against PPCI in terms of safety and efficacy. Electronic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials and observational studies comparing PPCI to PIT. PIT was defined as administration of thrombolytic drugs followed by immediate PCI only in case of failed thrombolysis. Results from studies were pooled using a random-effects model. We identified 17 relevant studies (6 randomized controlled trials, 11 observational studies) including 13,037 patients. Overall, there was no significant difference in short-term mortality (odds ratio [OR] = 1.20 [0.97 to 1.49]; I2 = 14.2%; p = 0.099); however, PIT significantly decreased short-term mortality (OR = 1.46 [1.08 to 1.96]; I2 = 0%; p = 0.01) in those studies with a symptom-onset-to-device time ≥200 minutes. There was a significantly lower risk reinfarction (OR = 0.69 [0.49 to 0.97]; I2 = 0%; p = 0.033) in the PPCI group, while the risk of cardiogenic shock was significantly higher (OR = 1.48 [1.13 to 1.94]; I2 = 0%; p = 0.005). In conclusion, PIT versus PPCI decisions should preferably be customized in patients presenting to non-PCI capable hospitals. Factors that need to be considered include symptom-onset to first medical contact time, expected time of transfer to a PCI-capable hospital, and patients risk factors.