Comparison of new expanded functions of pharmacists among Japan, the US, and the UK

Atsushi Kawahara


Introduction: Pharmacists’ role had been changed to be focused more as an expert on medication therapy such as
collaborative drug therapy management in the US and supplemental prescriber and independent prescriber in the
UK. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) in Japan published a notice, “Enhancing the team approach
in health care system by the cooperation of heath care provider,” that stated outlines about pharmacists’ role as an
expert on medication therapy. In this manuscript, we compare the regulations among the US, the UK, and Japan and
discuss how Japanese pharmacists should conduct their expected role. Materials and Methods: Databases used to
identify laws and regulations on the new pharmacists’ role in the three countries are as follows; WestLaw® for the
US, the for the UK, and “Database services of acts and regulations on health, labor and welfare”
at the MHLW website for Japan. Results: Comparison on the laws and regulations shows each regulatory authority
established each way to regulate the new pharmacists’ role even though the role in each country is quite similar.
In Japan, pharmacists have limited prescription rights by sharing the rights with the physician under the protocol
within the Japanese team approach model, but the regulations are minimum. Discussion and Conclusions: The
laws and regulations for the new pharmacists’ role are broken away from sameness or identify among the three
countries. In Japan, an individual pharmacist must build up strong credibility with the team members and the
patient and must show his/her capability to them when playing the new pharmacists’ role.

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