Evaluation of community pharmacist ability to ensure the safe use of oral anticancer agents: A nationwide survey in Japan

Shinya Suzuki, Rick Abbott, Hiroomi Sakurai, Kenji Kawasumi, Philip E. Johnson, Makoto Tahara, Masakazu Yamaguchi, Shinichiro Saito, Gary C. Yee, Kazushi Endo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: A recent study of community pharmacists in Canada reported that they required additional education. We conducted a survey of community pharmacists to evaluate the adequacy of education and training in oral anticancer agents in Japan.Methods: Between May and June 2014, community pharmacists were asked to complete a questionnaire by using two different survey strategies, one online and one via postal mail.Results: Three hundred community pharmacists responded to an online survey and 283 community pharmacists responded to a mailed survey. Only 6-10% of respondents felt that they had received adequate education in oncology or oral chemotherapy. Although 81% of Japanese pharmacists had attended at least one continuing education event related to oncology in the past 2 years, only 54% felt comfortable dispensing oral anticancer agents and only 40% felt comfortable educating patients about oral chemotherapy. In a multivariate analysis, confidence in educating patients about oral chemotherapy was associated with an understanding of chemotherapy cycles and doses (odds ratio = 4.89, 95% confidence interval [2.53-9.45]) and the number of continuing education events they had attended (odds ratio = 1.67, 95% confidence interval [1.35-2.08]).Conclusions: This is the first report to evaluate whether community pharmacists are equipped to ensure the safe use of oral anticancer agents in Japan. The results are similar to those previously reported for Canadian pharmacists, namely a low rate of positive responses for education in oncology and oral chemotherapy, demonstrating a similar need for additional education and training in oral chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberhyx015
Pages (from-to)413-421
Number of pages9
JournalJapanese Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Community pharmacy
  • Japanese pharmacy
  • Oral anticancer agents
  • Oral chemotherapy
  • Questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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