Feasibility of a referral pathway to community pharmacy for patients taking oral anticancer medication
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Feasibility of a referral pathway to community pharmacy for patients taking oral anticancer medication

Melanie Dalby Highly specialist oncology pharmacist, Guy’s and Saint Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Guy’s Cancer Centre, London, England
Shereen Nabhani-Gebara Senior lecturer, Kingston University, London, England
Ranjita Dhital Lecturer in pharmacy practice, University of Reading, England
Ian Norman Executive dean, King’s College London, England

Aim The value that community pharmacists can bring to patients taking oral anticancer medication is supported by small-scale studies; however, there have been no controlled studies to determine the impact that community pharmacists could have on the care of patients receiving oral anticancer medication. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a community pharmacy service to patients taking oral anticancer medication and of trial procedures, including recruitment and the appropriateness of data collection methods to assess adherence. The study also aimed to examine the assessment of drug interactions for patients taking oral anticancer therapy.

Method Sixteen patient participants (nine men and seven women; mean age=64.1 [SD 12.7] years) and eight community pharmacists were recruited to the study. The intervention involved a visit to a community pharmacist for a non-cancer medication-related consultation. Recruitment rates for patient participants and community pharmacist participants were recorded. Acceptability was determined from completed questionnaires. Two methods of measuring adherence were tested: use of a diary and a pill count. Two methods were used to determine drug interactions: assessment of interactions through Summary Care Records and recording of identified interactions by the community pharmacist.

Results The recruitment and retention rates for patient participants were 73% and 94%, respectively. Nine community pharmacists were approached and eight were recruited, giving a recruitment rate of 89%, with a 100% retention rate. The intervention was well tolerated by most participants. The methods used for outcome measures were appropriate for adherence and drug interaction rates.

Conclusion The results of the study mean that a larger scale pilot trial of a referral pathway to community pharmacists for patients taking oral anticancer medications is viable and warranted.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2019.e1613

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Dalby M, Nabhani-Gebara S, Dhital R et al (2019) Feasibility of a referral pathway to community pharmacy for patients taking oral anticancer medication. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748.cnp.2019.e1613.


The authors would like to thank the study participants and the research steering group for their enthusiasm and support. They would also like to thank Nisha Shaunak and the oncology pharmacy team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust for providing the resources for this study

Published online: 12 August 2019

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