Research Article
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Published Online: 2 July 2010

Role of the Community Pharmacy in Palliative Care: A Nationwide Survey in Japan

Publication: Journal of Palliative Medicine
Volume 13, Issue Number 6

Abstract

Purpose: The role of the community pharmacy in palliative care may become increasingly important in Japan. There has been however no investigation to date of community pharmacies in Japan that takes into account their role in enabling palliative care in the home. The aims of the present study were thus to evaluate (1) the availability of narcotics through community pharmacies and the experience of pharmacists in prescribing narcotics; (2) availability of patient counseling provided by pharmacists; (3) pharmacist-perceived difficulties in treating cancer patients with narcotics; and (4) useful strategies to make narcotics more easily available to patients.
Methods: We sent 3000 questionnaires to community pharmacies as a representative national sample, and 1036 responses were analyzed (response rate: 34.5%).
Results: We found that 77% of community pharmacies had a narcotics retailer license, and that approximately 50% received prescriptions for and prepared narcotics each month. Approximately 70% of community pharmacies received however only 3 narcotics prescriptions each month. Half of the pharmacists reported that they did not counsel patients, primarily because they lacked information about the patient. The most common area reported by pharmacists as being extremely difficult was communicating with terminally ill cancer patients. To make narcotics more easily available to patients, 76% of community pharmacists felt it was important to be able to return narcotics to wholesalers.
Conclusion: The present study suggests that there are many problems in community pharmacy that need to be addressed to improve access to palliative care in the home, including (1) increased sharing of patient information; (2) increasing community pharmacists' communication skills; and (3) changing current regulations regarding the distribution of narcotics. If these issues are addressed, palliative care in the home could become more widely accepted.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

cover image Journal of Palliative Medicine
Journal of Palliative Medicine
Volume 13Issue Number 6June 2010
Pages: 733 - 737
PubMed: 20597706

History

Published online: 2 July 2010
Published in print: June 2010
Accepted: 25 January 2010

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Authors

Affiliations

Yuya Ise, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmaceutical Services, Nippon Medical School Hospital, Sendagi Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
Tatsuya Morita, M.D.
Department of Palliative and Supportive Care, Palliative Care Team and Seirei Hospice, Seirei Mikatahara General Hospital, Hamamatsu, Japan.
Naomi Maehori, B.S.
Lemon Pharmacy, Hamamatsu, Japan.
Motoharu Kutsuwa, M.S.
Uematsu Pharmacy, Sendai, Japan.
Mitsuru Shiokawa, Ph.D.
Department of pharmacy, St. Luke's International Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.
Yoshiyuki Kizawa, M.D.
Institute of Clinical Medicine, Graduate School Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan.

Notes

Address correspondence to:Yuya Ise, Ph.D.Department of Pharmaceutical ServicesNippon Medical School Hospital1-1-5 Sendagi, Bunkyo-kuTokyo 113-8603Japan
E-mail: [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No conflicting financial interests exist.

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